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Coaches Build Life Skills; Athletes Want Mentorship

Athletes need mentorship, guidance and communication more than ever. They’re speaking a slightly different language. Coach and player seek to build soft skills and prepare for life beyond the playing surface. Goals and means within the soft skill arena tell a different story.

During April and May of 2020, 200+ coaches, athletes and parents of athletes, spanning professional to high school, responded to a survey to enlighten the Sevwins team about today’s state of the coach-athlete relationship. The findings affirmed assumptions and highlighted areas where all of us can work together better to enable our young adults.

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Athletes and Parents View Coaches as Trusted Mentors

Coaches are trusted mentors who understand the needs of the athletes. Every score in the set of questions was 83% or better, no matter who was asked (coach, athlete or parent).

  • 98% of coaches view themselves as a mentor

  • 89% of parents believe their children view coach as a mentor

  • 87% of athletes view coaches as mentors

  • 91% of athletes trust their coach

  • Athletes selected Coaches as

  • primary mentors, second only to family members

Strikingly Different Process Goals

Coaches, athletes and parents see a coach’s primary role very differently.

  • 51% of coaches have a primary goal of building life skills (more than 2x any other goal)

  • 92% of parents see something other than “life skills” as primary (#1: Deepen Relationships 33%)

  • 0% of athletes surveyed see “building life skills” as improving their experience in sports

The findings improve nuances of communication between athletes and coaches. The “emotional desire” gap and the “goal gap” reveal a strikingly different view of development itself. However, a strong desire for soft-skill development and deeper relationships, combined with high levels of trust, make this study the precursor to the question: “How do we improve athletes lives if coaches and players see it differently?”


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