Coaches and athletes are you fulfilling your responsibilities?

If a working relationship is to be effective, then all parties need to assume certain responsibilities. The coach – athlete relationship is no exception, both parties have responsibilities and must actively work to realise these. This is not a one-way street where the traffic of responsibilities goes in a single direction and rests only with the coach. The weight of responsibility rests on both shoulders. So, what are the responsibilities that can transform the coach-athlete relationship into a winning partnership? I have identified the most important responsibilities, see below. Do let us know your thoughts.

The coach’s responsibilities

    • Determine athlete’s needs and act in their interests
    • Explain the process of coaching, and the coach’s values and expectations
    • Define coach-athlete boundaries and respect these boundaries (this is especially important if you also have a personal relationship with your coach)
    • Establish a good working relationship with the athlete, to create conditions for optimal performance
    • Assess the athlete’s ability, skills, challenges and developmental needs
    • Allow for differences in the development and performance of athletes
    • Partner with the athlete to create individualised programs, establish goals and review performance
    • Build commitment and intrinsic motivation, so that motivation comes from within the athlete
    • Facilitate a growing sense of responsibility and autonomy within the athlete
    • Communicate openly and regularly with the athlete, provide feedback (good and bad) and periodically evaluate performance
    • reflect and refine the athlete’s skills
    • Be conscious of and promote the well- being of the athlete
    • Accept the need for parallel development of the athlete, in areas such as education or vocational development
    • utilise appropriate developmental networks, such as support staff
    • Build good relationships with sports administrators and executive staff

The athlete’s responsibilities

    • Agree to work intensively with the coach, to define goals and actively work to achieve these goals
    • Accept accountability for yourself and responsibility to implement developmental strategies
    • Exercise initiative and autonomy where appropriate
    • Be results- and solution- focused (looking for answers not excuses)
    • Commit to solutions
    • Communicate openly and regularly with the coach, provide feedback (good and bad) and participate in performance evaluations 
    • Maintain a wider commitment to self- development, as well as to the coach and the coaching process
    • Commit to take care of mind and body

*Extract from "C. Neesham, A psychology manual for high performance in sport"

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