Working on the assumption that the role of coaches clearly extends beyond “educating athletes about the technical aspects of their sports” and moves towards “drawing upon and developing athletes’ psychological resources” (Andersen, 2000). I believe that in order for coaches to be effective in incorporating other skills such as “being an innovative strategist, skilled motivator, and an effective personal counselor” they should initially be “good teachers” (Williams, 1986). I also feel that it is possible for coaches to assume the role of a sport psychologist in disseminating general or sport-specific psychological skills as long as it does not enter a “dual-role relationship” which would “impair the provision of psychological services to the athlete (the coach is busy with other work functions such as attending to another athlete) or jeopardize the athlete’s sport standing (due to the nature of the information that was divulged to the coach)” (Andersen, 2000).
The relationship between counselors and coaches is especially important as I believe that since “coaches become significant adults in the lives of many young athletes, coaches occupy a central and critical role in the personal and social development of these athletes” (Williams, 1986). I also take into consideration the importance of the role of the counselors working with athletes and that they should be mindful to the “unique factors that contribute to the difficulties which some student-athletes may have in meeting their developmental needs.” I feel that this can be addressed in the context of the existing network of support services–which include the coaches and the athlete’s parents. (Goldberg & Chandler, 1995)
Williams (1986) describes this relationship as the “athletic triangle” which consists of the athlete, coach, and parents. Goldberg & Chandler (1995) add that the collaboration between these groups is essential as “coaches in some areas are no longer teachers who have regular contact with the member of their team during school days,” this puts them in position of having a “minimal understanding of their players in any role other than that of an athlete.” Williams (1986) shares that “communication is a two-way street” in that coaches can offset the lack of information about their players through regular contact with their parents vis’-a-vis’ parents can be involved and “productively contribute” to their child’s athletic development.