Player-Coach-Parent Triangle

Talent development does not take place in a social vacuum.

For a successful outcome from participation in a program such Beachside’s, a young athlete’s basic psychological needs must be met. Parents and coaches must work in tandem to create an environment that supports those needs; they play distinct yet but complementary roles. The efforts of the coach, the player and the parents need to be in stress-free balance.

Three Critical Needs for the Young Athlete’s Learning Experience
Autonomy The athlete perceives the experience as valuable, and participates as his/her own choice.
Competence The athlete is effective at functioning and learning in the program environment.
Relateness The athlete feels cared about by others: coaches, team-mates, parents.

If Parents and Coaches work to gather to meet these needs, the results will be Psychological well-being, Strong performance, Motivation, Vitality and Mental toughness

Failure to do so can lead to Exhaustion, Negative Affect and Burnout.

A coach may become an very import person in the athlete’s life, but his/her bond with the athlete is distinct from that of a close friend or family member.

The Coach’s role is to The Parent’s role is to

Be empathetic: have and communicate authentic interest in the athlete.

Be non-judgmental, non-blaming

Acknowledge an athlete’s perspective, feelings and values

Challenge the athlete to work hard and improve – in both the technical and mental aspects of the sport.

Be the primary provider of sport-specific support through well designed training activities, as well as individual technical and tactical and advice.

Provide emotional support as the athlete experiences success and setbacks.

– Experiencing and overcoming adversity are critical elements of youth sport. Parents can provide emotional support in ways that a coach cannot.


Help the athlete find a productive balance between sports, family life, academics and other social activity.

Provide logistical and financial support

The young athlete must see his/her coach as the primary source of sport-specific knowledge and advice. While it is incumbent on the coach to earn this status in the athletes’s eyes, it is also essential that parents do nothing to negate it.

It is very, very tempting for parents attempt to supplement the coach’s efforts with their own instruction. But unless the parent has manifest professional expertise in teaching the sport, doing so is always counterproductive, and is usually resented by the athlete even if that frustration is not expressed.

Indeed such role encroachment can undermine a child’s confidence in the coach and introduce significant psychological stress – resulting in confused decision-making on the field, poor affect, and with two masters to please, a significant dilution of enjoyment.

Parents can and should encourage the athlete to make use of the coach’s knowledge. Younger players reach a milestone when they can autonomously manage their relationship with the coach, and meet with him/her on their own to seek individual guidance. Parents can help by emotionally preparing and encouraging their child to take that step.