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How can coaches appear more approachable?

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 can coaches appear more approachable?

49% of athletes stated communication outside of practice was important. This can be divided into three areas:

  1. Have an open door policy
    • “Make it known from day one that they are always there to talk to players.”
    • “Reach out to athletes first. Adults can be very intimidating for some. They should often remind their athletes of their free blocks or office hours so athletes feel welcomed if they wanted to talk during that time.”
    • “Offer the times that they are available during the day for drop ins and state how they are here for us in anyway that is needed.”
  1. Get to know athletes better
    • “A simple, “How’s it going? Everything alright?” can go a long way.”
    • “Individual meetings with an athlete to follow up on how they are doing on and off the field.”
  1. Show interest in areas outside of the sport
    • “Having discussions about things that we as players might have interest in such as music, sports, dating, social life, etc.”

Other frequent responses included:

Coach behavior

  • “Coaches should try to be as calm as possible regularly and not create a hostile environment by being angry or yelling all the time.”
  • “Do not attack players when speaking to them but rather have an open conversation and be understanding.”
  • “Sometimes a coach can be way to over the top and this will lead to players just saying it’s not worth it to confront the coach with their issue which can lead to problems for the whole team.”

Body language

  • “Their body language can be a big sign if they would want to be approached. Using a soft voice when we talk to them, having a neutral stance in terms of body language. Get eye level with us so we feel as equals if we need to talk to them about a personal topic or issue.”


  • “A smile goes a long way. I know it is their job to be serious and have a certain level of intensity, but sometimes smiling is a good reminder to the athletes that they are both on the same team with the same goals.”

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