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What do athletes need to feel connected to 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:

What do you need to feel connected to your coach?

44% of the responses involved a type of individual attention. This can be broken up into two specific areas:

Get to know me away from the sport

  • “I need to feel an effort being made, being reached out and asked about my personal life.”
  • “I need my coach to be interested in more than just my sports abilities. I want my coach to be interested in other aspects of my life, like my hobbies and interests outside of the sport. They should get to know me as a person rather than just an athlete.”

Individual attention within the sport

  • “I need attention, commitment, and for coaches to possess the ability to look for ways to improve me overall as an athlete.”
  • “It is important that my coach is understanding and takes the time to meet and discuss my performance.”

Other common responses also included:

  1. Communication
    • “In my past experiences, my confidence level really depended on how the coach communicated towards me and made me feel important to the team.”
    • “There needs to be a lot of communication. If I’m doing something that my coach doesn’t like, I would rather he/she tell me right away then leave me guessing why I was taken out of the game or didn’t start…When I had coaches who were not very good at communication, everything felt like a guessing game and I was always anxious about going to practice or games. On the contrary, when I had coaches who were good at communication, I found that I had a better attitude at practice/games and I was more likely to communicate my concerns to my coach.
  2. Trust, which went two ways:
    • Athletes need to trust that their coach is knowledgeable:
      • “I need to be able to talk to my coach about the inner intricacies of the game and have full faith in their coaching ability.”
      • “I need to know that I can trust my coach and that he/she is knowledgeable on what they are talking about.”
    • Coaches need to trust their athletes:
      • “I need them to be able to have my back and trust me that I will be better when I am not at my best.”
      • “The coach always has to trust your ability to perform in certain situations.”


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