Coach Development

Coach:Athlete Relationship and 3C+1

We are taking a look into the types of Coach:Athlete Relationships and the 3C+1 theory, as well as a few ideas of how to create that all important bond.

The coach-athlete relationship

The coach-athlete relationship has gained huge traction is recent times in terms of the importance that they place on each other. From bringing out the best in each other to inspiring, motivating and improving performance. What other factors are there?

A good coach-athlete relationship enhances self-awareness due to a better feedback structure whilst allowing opportunities to appreciate the other persons point of view, developed by an increasing respect and level of trust.

A good coach-athlete relationship can improve confidence and motivation and bring about a feeling of ‘having each others back’ – “Athletes don’t remember techniques, drills or coaching philosophies. They remember coaches. They remember how those coaches made them feel as a person and the impact they had on their lives”  – Allistair McCaw.

What about sporting benefits?

A good coach-athlete relationship can minimise the impact on performance as well as improving networks that drive performance and motivate players.

Types of relationships

There are 4 key types of coach-athlete relationships.

Effective and Successful: A relationship that is built on trust, respect, knowledge and understanding that exceeds expectations to create own standards that are highly successful in their sport.

Effective and Unsuccessful: Built around the holistic development without a strong emphasis on success/results which could therefore be placed in youth development with a focus on psychological, social, physical and technical/tactical skills.

Ineffective but successful: A relationship which breeds success but does not have a good connection between coach and athlete, ultimately they don’t get along.

Lastly, you probably guessed it… Ineffective and Unsuccessful: No benefits to coach or athlete and no success.

Are there any frameworks to base a good coach:athlete relationship on? Well, the most popular is the 3C’s+1 by Jowett.  This encourages the following principles:

  • Closeness
  • Commitment
  • Complimentary
  • Co-Orientation (added later than the others following more research)

These imply the need to display emotions and actions to build trust, respect and general closeness, with a drive, desire and passion to be committed to the cause and each other whilst supporting one another in a collaborative and co-operative manner.

How can this be achieved?

  • Provide praise and encouragement but with opportunities for constructive feedback.
  • Be punctual, committed and generally in attendance whilst remaining ‘present’
  • Establish boundaries and standards and be able to hold each other accountable
  • Get to know each other (person first, athlete second)

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