Being able to establish relationships can help the overall team morale and goals when everyone on the team feels valued and part of the process.
It is vital to create individual relationships with each player to really understand and build a trusting relationship. Trust is important for any foundation to a relationship. Trust leads to strong team cohesion and enhances a coach’s ability to develop athletes and team to reach their full potential.
I want my players to be able to trust me in coming to me if they need something off the field or even trust my ability and knowledge on the field. I also want to support my athletes in forming positive coach-athlete relationships. I want them to make sure that my athletes know I am reachable and can be a mentor for them. In building these relationships, it’s about finding the ability to connect outside of field hockey and off the field. Finding common interest or connection from off the field like team dinners or team activities.
To also create strong relationships and support my athletes- I must have genuine interest in ALL members. I try my best to remember the little details about my athletes, like their birthday, their best friends names, siblings, majors, and in general know what their passions and goals are.
Communication is another way I try to support my athletes. Having open and honest conversations can help my athletes know what they need to do on the field or where they stand on their performance. Being able to have the coach and athletes communicate openly and have collaborative discussions are the most effective ones.
Last, availability is important in supporting athletes because this helps to establish interpersonal relationships. You want to be available for your athletes whenever they may need you for advice, help or anything of the matter. Being available and engaged will help your athlete feel like they can come to you. Making yourself available is only helping to build strong relationships in the long run.
Overall- the key word in all of this, to help support my athletes is really based on relationships. With trust, genuine interest, communication, availability comes even stronger relationships.