January 6

The Coach-Athlete Relationship in Strength and Conditioning: Elite Athletes’ Perceptions. Part 6: Practical applications

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The present study is the first, to our knowledge, to examine elite athletes’ perceptions of S&C coaches within Australia. The findings highlight the importance of building of positive coach-athlete relationship for the athlete, with transferable skills integral to this. With this in mind, we propose that S&C coach education should not just focus on the prescribable aspects (i.e. technical skills, recovery strategies) but also incorporate transferable skills and guidelines to develop positive relationships. General sport coaching literature recognises athletes perception of coach behaviors effect sporting outcomes and the current study supports this in S&C settings. Athletes preferred coaches who have a positive outlook and an athlete-centred mindset. The ability to work with the athlete as an individual, setting mutual goals and adapting training programs to specific needs was important for building trust in the relationship. We also note the importance of taking a holistic approach to the athletes development and welfare, and encourage S&C coaches to take an interest in their athletes’ life outside of the sporting arena.

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