The Importance of Trust in Coaching Relationships


I want to start off with the below quote:

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” ― John Wooden

My one word since week one is friendship and I would say the one relationship from friendship that is important to consider is trust. Trust and reputation matter because no player would want a lack of trust or respect from a role model. In readings the author has mentioned countless times about strengthening bonds between players, parents, coaching staff, and administrative staff. Along with that it’s also mentioned that people will want to work only when they feel valued and feeling valued can come from trust. Hence to trust your assistant coach with aspects like training, recruitment, and other engagement can make them feel valued. Another part of trust is to know the names of the players, it wasn’t only the book that mentioned this. This was a significant attribute that the greatest of the great soccer coach has. Sir Alex Ferguson established trust in Manchester United as a coach not only through his tactical ability or by recruiting quality players, but by building trust from the ground up. He knew all the staff at Manchester United by name and even mentions in his book that this is the first principle of a great leader. Calling someone by name, rather than “coach” or other titles will create trust from appreciation. “Relationships are the foundation of coaching and even though a relationship is a two-way street, it’s the coach’s responsibility to pursue a real relationship with their athletes. Coaches hold a place of respect and authority, but still feel reachable enough for athletes to (be) open and view their coach as a role model or mentor.” [1].

Who would want to interact with a stranger on a daily basis? No one. And how does one become familiar? Through trust- they need to have established relationship to feel comfortable and build trust. Between a player and coach there’s a relationship between mentor and mentee or student and teacher. So, you can imagine if there’s a bad relationship between them there’ll be unique conflicts. Also, it allows learning opportunities both from the coach, the team, and the player’s side. “A team with both senior and junior members is more likely to deliver good long-term results if its members enjoy positive relationships with each other. Collaborative team settings can lead to a transfer of skills between the more experienced workers and the less experienced ones. This can ultimately benefit both the workers and the organization.” [2] we can replace workers with player recruiters, players, and coaches and the statement will remain true and sound. Since essentially this is a human psychological aspect. Everyone wants to establish some sort of relationship and hope to be valued.

What I learned from my interview, the only one completed to date, would be that the player’s trust plays a great role in team building and dynamics. While talking with the assistant coach at the Drexel’s men’s soccer team, Flo Liu, he mentioned to me how the head coach has entrusted him with recruitment and through this trust Liu has worked since 2019 to recruit all the current roster of players. He continues to do so and looks at the head coach for guidance. This would not have been possible without trust, which creates a sense of belonging and value. The diagram below is what was learned from the interview.


[1] Gels, ames. (2017, September 18). The importance of a strong coach-athlete relationship. NFHS. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

[2] Team, I. E. (2023, February 28). 8 reasons why it’s important to build workplace relationships. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

[3]  Team, I. E. (2022, December 2). Essential coaching skills for strong leadership | Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

[4] Team, I. E. (2022, December 5). Top 10 recruitment skills for successful recruiters. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

[5] Hanson, R. (2012, November 7). Be friendly. Psychology Today. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

Leave a comment