The Relationship Perspective

What is the Relationship Perspective?

  • How coaches and athletes think and feel about one another, and also how they think that the other perceives them.


Why is this important?
  • Relationship perspective can affect a coach's ability to impact his or her athlete and can certainly affect the performance of the athlete.
  • "The Coach-Athlete Relationship is recognized as the foundation of coaching and a major force in promoting the athlete's physical and psychosocial skills." Sophia Jowett (2005)


What factors are involved in a successful coach-athlete relationship?

  • The key to a successful coach-athlete relationship is positive growth to enhance motivation to perform well.


  • Concepts involved in positive growth are trust, responsiveness, empathy, goal-setting, cooperation, understanding, and acceptance.
  • This video of Auburn University's head football coach Gene Chizik is a testament to what a positive coach-athlete relationship looks like.
  • Feelings of mistrust and deceit can take away any chance for motivation and be detrimental to performance.


Models for a successful Coach-Athlete Relationship

3C's + 1 Model
  • Closeness - Emotional feelings and attachment towards one another.
  • Commitment - Willingness to stick with your coach/athlete trusting in their abilities to either lead or perform.
  • Complementarity - How well personalities and characteristics match to create a positive environment for sport.
  • Co-Orientation - Composed of interperceptions and metaperceptions.

  1. Interperceptions - How one feels about the other.
  2. Metaperceptions - How one feels the other perceives them.

Compass Model
  • Conflict Management - Patience, understanding, co-operation, and willingness to listen during disagreements.
  • Openness - Constructive feedback and praise when appropriate and ability to share feelings and opinions.
  • Motivation - Motivated and passionate to work hard with coach/athlete.
  • Preventative - Upfront expectations and regular talks on relationship status
  • Assurance - Coach/athlete can be reliable and talk about anything.
  • Support - Can be considerate of external and personal problems and provide assisstance during difficult times.
  • Social Network - Mutual friends and affiliations, and time spent socializing outside of training.

Jowett, S. (2005). The coach-athlete partnership. The Psychologist, 18, 412-415.

Rhind, Daniel J. A., Jowett, S. Relationship Maintenance Strategies in the Coach-Athlete Relationship: The Development of the COMPASS Model. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Jan-Mar2010, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p106-121.

Taylor, J., Wilson, S.W. (2005). Appling sport psychology: Four perspectives. Champagne, IL: Human Kinetics.