The Player-Coach Relationship

This is a story taken from my journalism class. It pertained to the sports world so I thought I would give it a shot and post in here to get some feedback

The player-coach relationship is vital in sports and directly correlates to how a player performs in game. Relationships are important on and off the field of play between a coach and their players. If they push them too hard, the players may not want to perform for them, and if a coach tries to be too nice to their players then the players don’t respect them and their play will show. This relationship cannot be taken for granted, and depending on how strong the relationship is will go a long way in determining how the players’ game will transfer to the games.

Jake Wodka, junior starting linebacker for Plano West Football said that, “I think that my relationship affects greatly how I play in consideration to morale, confidence, and other mental aspects.”
The confidence players think that their coaches have instilled in them greatly affects how players play the game.
T.J. Cline, varsity basketball player for Plano West, commented saying, “I think it affects players when your coach has confidence in you and says don’t be afraid to take the shot or shoot the ball rather than being on the fence and being scared to mess up.”

A player’s psyche, especially at the high school level, can be greatly affected by how a coach treats them. A good psyche leads to good play, but a bad psyche can affect the player in a negative matter.

Bradford Alexander, a senior baseball player for Plano West, commented saying, “From all of the coaches I have had when my coach truly doesn’t like me, I play horrible, and when he likes me I am always the star player…It gives me confidence to perform well and perform the way I like.”

It is essential for that relationship to be there between coaches and players. It often can even be taken for granted at how that relationship directly correlates to success.

“The relationship between a player and coach is very essential to the success of player on the field,” said Jordan Hall, junior linebacker for Plano West, “because if the relationship isn’t strong with the player and coach then it’s hard for the player to excel on the field.”

The way a player views their relationship with their coach is also important to how strong the relationship is. The coach may think they are rubbing the player one way, but the player may feel differently. The circumstances in which the player and coach are both at an understanding are where quality play and quality relationships start.

“Coach Patterson and I have a very strong relationship,” said Paige Womack, varsity starter for the Plano West girls’ basketball team, “I feel like I can talk to him about anything, serious and non-serious, basketball and non-basketball related.”

The coaches that seem to have the best relationships with players seem to be the ones that get to know their players on and off of their field of play.

“My coach will ask me how my family is, how school is going, etc. and we always keep in touch” added Wodka.

The players aren’t the only ones who care about this relationship though; coaches try to go out of their way to build a relationship with their players.

“I consider my relationship with the players to be real good,” said Plano West varsity basketball assistant coach Leras, “We try and get to know them on a personal level, more than just a teacher or coach”

Now, coaches do try to reach out to every player, but some players are more responsive than others, and often time’s questions arise if these relationships would affect playing time for people on the team.

“I think sometimes it can affect your playing time,” said Hall, “If you aren’t a player with good attitude and you and your coach aren’t on the same page then I’m sure the coach will second guess putting you in the game or trusting you with that responsibility.”

As important as relationships are though, when it comes to the game, the coach ultimately has to go with who is playing the best at that time.

“I don’t think relationship affects [playing time],” said Cline, “It’s whoever is playing the best and who brings the most to the table at that point in the game.”

Throughout the game, whoever is playing the hardest should ultimately decide who goes in the game, but how good the relationship is between player and coach can determine how hard the player wants to play for the one calling the shots.

“Yea I definitely think they play harder if trust is there,” added Leras, “It’s hard to put someone in the game if we don’t trust him”

The fact of the matter is that a player coach relationship is a two way deal, and both sides have to meet each other in the middle to make the relationship work and build a strong bond. It’s like any other relationship really. You have to talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend continuously to build upon the foundation of a strong relationship.

“I could get and play better for us to have a better relationship,” added Alexander, “He always wants me to play my best so when I do, we become best friends and we text and talk about everything.”

Communication plays a strong role in the relationship. The more the two sides can communicate and understand the other, then the better the relationship can be.

“...just trying to find a place in the middle to agree on so there aren’t disagreements on and off the field to affect our relationship.” Added Hall

It can be hard for a coach to communicate to their players though, since it has been in a while for since the coaches have been in their shoes.

“The thing we have to remember is how old the kids are, and how things today are so much different than they were when I was a kid, said Leras, “We just have to better understand their motivation to play.”

All in all, the player coach relationship continues to be a vital relationship in the sports world. It’s a combined effort between player and coach to meet in the middle. The strength of this relationship can affect how a player performs in a game, and from a coach’s perspective, can develop trust between them and the player to determine which player is most equipped to handle certain situations.

Added Womack, “I think just by continuing to understand how we each take messages, we can become better at delivering them to each other which will make our relationship better.”

Co-Founder and contributor to Day to Day Sports


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