Interpersonal Relationships and Communication

Communication is defined as the verbal and non-verbal exchange of information, including all the ways in which knowledge is transmitted and received. So to be a successful communicator, not only does one need to curate what they say, but understand the way it may be received. Successful communication takes commitment, and it is this commitment that glues one to the saddle if conversations become bumpy.

In sport, effective communication is the catalyst to establishing a good relationship. Maintaining open lines of communication within the coach-parent-athlete triad simplifies the process of growth and learning which are two essential elements needed for success in sport. If an athlete does not feel comfortable expressing problems, for example pain from injury or mental or physical illness, situations may become worse and result in an athlete wanting to quit. Many of my athletes that have made communication a priority discovered that the initial discomfort and anticipatory anxiety linked with communication is far worse than speaking your word and grounding yourself upon the passion of your needs.

Under the same breath, the mere act of expressing personal issues with a coach is identified by athletes and parents as “scary.” Coaches need to know this and take into consideration that their athletes may feel this way. Thus, an explanation on both parts is always important. Training in effective communication skills, such as the OAW course, is a great way to establish a strong relationship with an athlete and their support system. Learning, practicing, implementing, and demonstrating communication skills helps athletes, coaches and parents and, ultimately, builds a brand of trust associated with all athletic programs.

Educational Resources

Articles on Effective Communication and Positive Coaching

“Modern Coaching” by Traci Sommer-Stanard

The Brilliance of Traumaby Traci Sommer-Stanard

9 Secrets from a Master of Minimalism by Traci Sommer-Stanard