The Coach-Parent Triad

By March 24, 2015Sports, Sports News

From an original article by Anne Josephson. Originally published on

The coach-parent-athlete triad is a complicated yet important part of the development of a happy,
healthy athlete. Establishing a positive partnership, rooted in trust and mutual respect, doesn’t
happen by accident.

In fact, if there is not a deliberate effort to develop and maintain a healthy relationship between each
of the parties, most certainly there will be problems ranging from misunderstandings to full blown
mistrust. We all can tell horror stories either experienced first-hand or from the tales of others of the
powder keg of explosions that can occur between a coach, parent and athlete. And while friction of
some sort is inevitable in any long-term relationship, how that conflict is dealt with will determine the
overall success of these critical relationships.

Here are some habits that will help create and maintain a happy and healthy triad:

1. Respect for Individual. Each person needs to respect the other as a person and the role of the
other within the relationship.

2. Respect for Others’ Relationship. There are three pairs of relationships within the triad:
coach/athlete, coach/parent and parent/athlete. Each one of these relationships will benefit
from the support of the person outside of the relationship.

3. Talk to each other and encourage the other two parties to handle their issues with one another
openly and directly.

4. Speak positively about the other person. Don’t bad mouth the third party to each other. While it
might feel good to “let off steam” it ultimately weakens the bond between the other two parties.

5. Give each other the space to work out relationships with the other. For instance, parents that
try to run inference too closely between coaches and athletes rob the coach-athlete
relationship that can be so valuable to the development of the athlete.

6. Assumption of Good Faith. When things go wrong, always assume that the other party did not
mean to hurt or inconvenience you. Assume that there must be a reasonable explanation for the

7. Gratitude. Be grateful for what each of you brings to the relationship and for the role that you
play in one another’s lives.

8. Appreciation. Demonstrate that gratitude through small acts of appreciation. Smiles and saying
thank you goes a long way in lubricating the friction that can occur in relationships. Never act

9. Teamwork. Everyone in the triad is working toward a common goal. Do not forget this. You are
allies, not adversaries.

10. Apologize. Saying you are sorry and making amends is the best way to make sure that your
relationships stay strong

Leave a Reply