World champion rowing coach Johan Flodin says in a video insight (below) that building successful relationships with his athletes enables him to individualise training sessions.
“I try to be sensitive. I try to listen to what is said and not said, to make people happy. I want to have fun and I want the athletes to have fun because otherwise I’m sure that we won’t succeed.”
However, he offers another angle to consider - that you also need to allow time away from your team.
“Sometimes as a coach you get really tired of yourself and I am sure that the athlete is getting equally tired. If you plan to stay away on a few occasions, the coaching gets a little more crisp.”
Rowing Coach of the Year Insights - Johan Flodin – YouTube
When you think about developing your players and team, you may invariably think about training plans and tactics.
But that is only part of the coaching process; building successful relationships with your players can be just as important.
That’s according to British cycling coach Andy Kirkland, who says in his article, ‘More than just training’, that the key is to get inside the head of your athletes.
“This way we can work out what they want and more importantly what they need. ‘Want’ and ‘need’ are not the same thing.” he explains in the link below:
More Than Just Training: The Coach/Athlete Relationship | TrainingPeakS home.trainingpeaks.com
However, for the coach-player relationship to work, the athletes themselves must have the ability, willingness and desire to be coached.
Simone Dailey (below), a triathlete trained by Andy Kirkland, says:
“I am eager and willing to put in the work and always wanting to do more but he limits my wants to needs. It works very well for both of us. Consistent communication is key.”
An important feature of that ‘consistent communication’ is goal setting. Andy Kirkland offers this insight:
“Success to me is simply to be able to support a healthy and happy athlete who enjoys their sport. Lots of little process goals along the way give plenty of opportunities for success.”
Bill Parcells, the American football coach who twice won the Super Bowl, was a big advocate of using goal setting to enhance the coach-athlete relationship:
“When you set small, visible goals, and people achieve them, they start to get it into their heads that they can succeed. They break the habit of losing and begin to get into the habit of winning. It’s extremely satisfying to see that kind of shift take place.”
10 Guidelines for Effective Goal Setting | TrainingPeaks