Any study of the coach-athlete relationship reveals the significant influence coaches have in the lives of student-athletes. To effectively reach athletes, here are three suggestions:
- Clearly communicate your philosophy
A well-articulated philosophy is essential to establishing a winning culture. More importantly, strong philosophies are necessary to effectively teach life skills to student-athletes. Coaches must also develop strategies (e.g., keywords, modeling) for communicating and teaching life skills if athletes are to carry those skills to other areas of their lives.
- Employ democratic leadership, training and instruction, and social support in your coaching
Democratic leadership, training and instruction, and social support are three coaching behaviors shown to regularly have a positive influence on the coach-athlete relationship. Research shows that players respond positively when they are involved in decision-making, taught according to their learning styles, and shown genuine care by their coaches.
- Be self-aware
Studies indicate that coaches’ perceptions of their coaching is often higher than their players’ perceptions. As a result, coaches must be continually monitoring and reflecting on their own behavior to ensure they are maintaining effectiveness. A coach’s personal goal must be consistent improvement and growth.