Why Coaches Need to Focus on Building Positive Relationships

coaching relationships

As a coach you are often in the public spotlight, despite the level you teach, because sports are highly competitive and religiously watched industry in the United States.

Coaches are often criticized and evaluated by fans, parents, upper management and the media about their win-loss record which is often out of their control.

You can be a wonderful coach and teacher but because of lack of talent, injuries, or luck your win-loss record is mediocre and you’re seen as an ineffective coach. The win-loss record is not the most important quality of an effective coach, but a positive personal relationship with your athletes is. A strong relationship with your athletes will lead to their personal growth and serve as a motivating factor in your entire team’s performance.

Qualities of an Effective Coach


In order to have a strong relationship with your athletes, you will need to have positive interactions and build trust with your players.

Coaches in every level need to build the self-esteem of their athletes. Players need to know you have confidence in their abilities and are going to continue to work with them to improve their skills.

As an effective coach you need to be a great communicator.

This means you actually listen to the players when they are talking, so you understand what their concerns are and can readily address them. Athletes want to know they are more than just a statistic and that you care about them on a personal level.

Another quality that effective coaches must master is creating a fun and safe space for their athletes. When everyone is having fun, they are more relaxed and will play at peak performance.

Coaches should use players mistakes as a teaching tool, because feedback helps the players learn and improve their skills. If a coach gets angry and yells when a player makes a mistake then they will be afraid of making more mistakes, resulting in a timid personality.

A coach’s goal is to nurture the player and motivate them towards success.

Different Ways to Build Stronger Relationships

Coaches that are trying to form relationships with their athletes, but are unfamiliar with positive ways to form this bond can use these examples.

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You can host an event outside of the athletic program such as a meal or fun activity during the weekend. This will give you an opportunity to bond with your athletes outside of the normal relationship structure.

Another way to bond with your team is by committing to a community service project.

Not only will this benefit the community, but it will also provide your team with chances to build communication and leadership skills.

Tutoring or advising can be a beneficial way to create a strong relationship with your athletes as well. By creating office hours before or after school, your open door policy will create an honest and trusting environment and give players a chance to get help or ask for advice.

The Benefits of Bonding with Your Athletes

Once you have developed a positive relationship with your athletes, you will see numerous benefits to their attitude, teamwork and performance. A positive playing environment allows athletes to be supportive of one another and keeps them motivated toward a common goal.how to prepare for your sports job search ebook

When athletes have a positive relationship with their coaches they are more likely to listen and take advice which can improve their skills as well.

A positive relationship will also create mutual respect among the athlete and coach and allow them to work together more efficiently. Winning is a byproduct of the relationships the athletes and coaches have developed with one another.

Although you have created a strong relationship with your athlete, it is still probable to have a difference of opinion. But your relationship will lead to a positive environment to work on a compromise together.

While it is possible to have success without relationships, there are major negative drawbacks. It can lead to distant coaches and selfish athletes with poor sportsmanship.

A strong positive relationship is an important part of a successful team and overall season and can be the major difference in an athlete enjoying the sport or hating it.

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