In sports, success is measured in terms of winnings, which can be either individual or team accolades. These winnings, which is the only thing that matters to many individuals (fans), are just a tip of the iceberg and are minor portions of the total success. A team's or individual's success is dependent on many things. The athlete-coach relationship is very significant to the overall success. A team which was previously performing poorly can be influenced significantly by a new coach, and their results can improve within a short period. Likewise, a team which was performing well can be negatively impacted by a coach resulting in a deep in their performance and overall results. This necessitates an investigation to find the most appropriate relationship between a coach and an athlete.
A low context, low power distance relationship would prove to be the most appropriate relationship between a coach and athletes. For athletes to be successful, and for a team to perform better, a close relationship between the athlete and the coach is essential. In most situations, the coach athletes emotions, behaviors, and thoughts are closely inter-related.
The quality and value of the player-coach relationship are vital as it impacts many things in a player among them happiness, the ability of a player to cope within a team, and the overall performance/output of the player. This relationship, therefore, has a significant influence on maximizing both sporting and psychological performance of both the athlete and the coach (Nicholls, Earle, Earle & Madigan, 2017). There are various determinants of a player/athlete-coach relationship. They include aspects like complementarity, commitment, and to some extent, closeness and co-orientation. Complementarity, on its part, is the extent of how both the athlete's and the coaches' behavior interact with each other. Commitment, on the other hand, is the notion of whether these two parties have the will to sustain their relationship. Subsequently, the closeness between the athlete and the coach refers to how far they are willing to go to support and value their relationship while co-orientation explains developing or having the same ideas on both sporting matters and other matters that do not pertain sporting.
It is essential to note that the coach-athlete relationship is dynamic and is bound to change with time. Athletes who develop a closer and well committed relationship with the coach develop mastery-approach techniques. These techniques are important as when faced with stressful situations during a game; they view the situation as challenging and not necessarily a threat.
They, therefore, set their minds to overcome the challenge and do not cower back to accept defeat. Mastery-approach techniques or goals are, therefore associated with better or improved performances (Lochbaum & Smith, 2015). Vieira et al. (2015) carried a study to find out the importance of a close and committed relationship between athletes and their coaches. The study report highlighted that the players from teams that had won medals indicated that they had a closer and committed a relationship with their coaches as compared to their peers who were not medalists.
A low context culture is therefore essential in aiding the success of athletes by their coaches. In this culture, instructions and their meanings are explained in detail, and when messages are not clear, further explanation is made (Makia, 2019). In this type of communication, information is passed in a direct and linear way. It also considers feelings, is open, and is based on true intentions. This is unlike the high context culture where people (in this case, athletes) are required to have a deeper insight into information coded in between lines. Communication is also ambiguous, as well as being reserved and instructions being understated. In this kind of relationship, power and authority are reserved by the authoritarian leader, and little or no input is expected from the followers.
Therefore, important details are likely to be left out as the listeners are not supposed to question. A low context culture, on the other hand, puts a value on individualism, and it is considered polite to ask questions and seek clarification, unlike high context culture. In sports, a low culture context needs to be utilized as input from both the coach and the athlete is essential for success. It is crucial that communication be open and detailed to minimize chances of leaving out vital information which may impact performance negatively.
Minding the athletes' feelings is crucial as emotions play a crucial role in sports performance. Athletes should be free to express themselves and voice their views as they may be significant in making progress. The coach is also likely to acquire vital skills from different athletes who may be in turn used the collective good of the team. It is also important to note that in a low context, culture work is done while focusing on goals, which improves performance. Time is also crucial, and in most instances, results or change is achieved within a short period.
In conclusion, a coach-athlete relationship is crucial to achieving success. A close and more committed relationship brought about by having a low context, low distance relationship has been shown to yield success as mastery-approach techniques are instilled in players. Players view challenges as something to be overcome and not as a threat.
Lochbaum, M., & Smith, C. (2015). Making the cut and winning golf putting championship: the role of approach-avoidance achievement goals. International Journal of Golf Science, 4(1), 50-66.
Makia, M. (2019). Retrieved 23 July 2019, from https://www.quora.com/Social-and-Behavioral-Norms-What-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-a-high-context-vis-a-vis-a-low-context-culture
Nicholls, A. R., Earle, K., Earle, F., & Madigan, D. J. (2017). Perceptions of the Coach-Athlete Relationship Predict the Attainment of Mastery Achievement Goals Six Months Later: A Two-Wave Longitudinal Study among FA Premier League Academy Soccer Players. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 684.
Vieira, J. L. L., Ferreira, L., Cheuczuk, F., Flores, P. P., Vissoc, J. R. N., Rocha, F. F. D., ... & Vieira, L. F. (2015). Impact of coach-athlete relationship on the collective efficacy of young volleyball players. Revista Brasileira de Cineantropometria & Desempenho Humano, 17(6), 650-660.
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