School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


25 Apr 2017

Dr Sophia Jowett and Sports Coach UK including ConnectedCoaches working to raise awareness on importance of coach-athlete relationships

Dr Sophia Jowett, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, has worked together with Chris Chapman (Sports Coach UK) and John Alder (formerly Sports Coach UK and currently at EIS) to develop a 5 minute animation that places the coach-athlete relationship at the heart of effective coaching.

Developed with sport coaches in mind who wish to develop healthy, functional and successful coaching environments, the animation is takes coaches on a journey...

Watch the video on YouTube 

The animation presents a compelling case for the importance of the Coach-Athlete Relationship (CAR) and describes its quality and content as well as its functions and the different ways to develop better coaching relationships:

  • A coach-athlete relationship is defined as the interconnection of interpersonal feelings (closeness), thoughts (commitment) and behaviours (complementarity), as well as co-orientation (similarity and understanding).
  • The functions or outcomes of developing a successful relationship include physical, social, emotional and psychological growth and development.
  • Open channels of communication is viewed an active ingredient for the relationship to flourish and include interacting, disclosing, sharing, leading, following, listening, helping, guiding, supporting, motivating, nurturing…
  • While conflict (misunderstandings and disagreements) is inevitable in relationships, constructive and open communication can provide opportunities to strengthen the quality and functions of the coach-athlete relationship.
  • The ‘4 Cs Model’ (Closeness, Commitment, Complementarity, and Co-orientation) is a framework that allows coaches to measure and observe the quality of the relationship with each one athlete in their team or squad.
  • Communication provides a COMPASS that navigates the relationship through the “ups and downs” of the sporting journey.
  • Forming a healthy relationship requires considerable investment of time and energy, by both the coach and the athlete, if the bond is to thrive.
  • ‘Two is better than one, if two can act as one.’ (Coach K)

For more information go to (a Loughborough University Enterprise project)