Support: What do athletes want in a coach

Striving to go above and beyond to help maintain a balance between competition and life.

Published by KOTWF
on Aug 14, 2020


Care, commitment, communication.

Offering a support system so the athlete maintains the physical and psychological belief and trust in their abilities. Striving to go above and beyond to help maintain a balance between competition and life.

I have referred back to a speech a number of times throughout my coaching career from the book; Open. by Andre Agassi. At a poignant moment his S&C coach Gil Reyes, spells out what the principle of supporting an athlete is;

“Andre, I won’t ever try to change you, because I’ve never tried to change anybody. If I could change somebody, I’d change myself. But I know I can give you structure and a blueprint to achieve what you want. There’s a difference between a plow horse and a racehorse. You don’t treat them the same. You hear all this talk about treating people equally, and I’m not sure equal means the same. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a racehorse, and I’ll always treat you accordingly. I’ll be firm, but fair. I’ll lead, never push. I’m not one of those people who expresses or articulates feelings very well, but from now on, just know this: It’s on, man. It is on. You know what I’m saying? We’re in a fight, and you can count on me until the last man is standing. Somewhere up there is a star with your name on it. I might not be able to help you find it, but I’ve got pretty strong shoulders, and you can stand on my shoulders while you’re looking for that star. You hear? For as long as you want. Stand on my shoulders and reach, man. Reach.”

This is the basis of the support we strive to offer. Jump on the shoulders.

Care, Commitment and Communication are the main elements of this.

Care; an appreciation that it’s more than just sport and that the human element needs to be the main priority of any coaching programme. The bonds that are formed through sport and training are always strong due to the close proximity, experiences and emotions that a coach and an athlete go through together.

Commitment, is the drive and passion to help an athlete reach their target, I make sure that any athlete that I have ever worked with knows that I’m willing to go to the well for them to help them become the best they can be….however, Commitment and Care work both ways and Commitment can only be nurtured and maximised if there is clear and consistent Communication about the goals, the process and the challenge that is facing the athlete or team!

Every Challenge needs Support but the amount of each is dependent on the athlete, a great metaphor from a talk by Professor Frank Dick recently stated that Challenge and Support are the same as the width of a tightrope, the narrower the tightrope the more challenge for the athlete, and the wider the more support, I see this as a never-ending calibration for the duration of a performance programme to keep a person moving forward.

IT'S ON. Reach, for as long as you want.


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Published by KOTWF
on Aug 14, 2020

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