If you've been reading the blog, you may have noticed that at times my language toward athletes and the coach-athlete relationship is different from what you may normally have heard. As a coach, I believe the language we use in conversation every day is extremely important and says a lot about our philosophy and what we believe in.
Perhaps the biggest thing that I hear from coaches in their language is a sense of possession toward the athlete. This is something that really annoys me and I would like any of you to correct me if you ever hear me say or write "my" athlete or "your" athlete. Although a coach may be the most good-natured individual on the planet, and be completely oblivious to using words of possession, it will rub someone the wrong way and they will lose respect for that coach. When an athlete hears a coach speak about them in this way, I think it implies a sense of superiority and that is not the kind of relationship that will be successful in my opinion. In a functional relationship, I believe there is equal voice among all contributors, and this has to be the case in athletics as well.
Using words of possession with the athletes is not proper dialogue and is something we can definitely work on as coaches. Give the athletes an equal voice and hear their opinions, I think it will go a long way in your relationship and you will gain a lot more respect.