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How do athletes know when they are connected with their coach?

On average, athletes reported feeling disconnected with 40.4% of their coaches. Athletes have previously stated that feeling disconnected to their coach will harm their performance. So, that leads to the question:

How do athletes know when they are connected with their coach?

43% of athletes stated they know when they are open and free to talk about anything with their coach. Three specific areas were mentioned:

  1. Discuss things outside of the sport
    • “When the relationship doesn’t strictly revolve around the sport and it is more of a casual relationship in a sense that we can talk about other things besides that sport.”
    • “When I talk to the coach, even when not in practice or games.”
  1. Discuss problems/issues
    • “If your coach is there to always support you and be there for you. You should be able to go to your coach for help.”
    • “If you can go to your coach with problems outside of your sport such as school, personal, etc.”
  1. Discuss the sport
    • “When I feel like I can go to them with any problems/concerns I may have about myself or the team.”
    • “When we can bounce ideas off each other.”
    • “When we are able to be brutally honest with each other about the team or what I had to do better.”

31% of athletes stated feeling comfortable and not having anxiety was important.

  • “When I can feel free of anxiety talking to them, I am comfortable talking to them in most situations even though I probably won’t do so, but having the option helps.”
  • “When I am able to communicate openly and I don’t feel intimidated.”
  • “When you have conversations that don’t feel as if one of the people involved has more power.”

Other common areas included:

  • Look forward to practices & enjoying the sport:
    • “When I look forward to time with the team and the coach. “
    • “You’ll enjoy going to practice and want to have a conversation with your coach. Even if practice is hard or intense, you’ll still want to go because everything is just more fun when you have a good relationship with your coach.”
  • When I feel independent
    • “If he begins to get confidence in you and lets you make your own decisions.”
    • “When coaches don’t need to tell me basic things and have a hands off approach towards me. I can focus myself and train myself, I only need direction when I ask for it.”

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