Professionalism Between a Male Coach and a Female
Irvine High School
A coach plays an extremely important role in the development of a young
athlete. Everything that a coach says and does have the potential to leave deep and
lasting impressions on an athlete. It is the sincere hope of every coach that the
impressions that we leave be of a positive, meaningful nature. Therefore, it is important
that we recognize that this is not always the case. As coaches, we must carefully weigh
our words and actions so as not to negatively influence the athletes with whom we work.
A coach and an athlete spend a great deal of time together. The coach
and the athlete share many emotional experiences that can lead to the formation of a
strong bond between the two. This bond carries with it a great responsibility. The coach
must carefully nurture this bond and establish a strong sense of trust and respect while
tempering the bond with a high degree of professionalism.
The bond that forms between a male coach and a female athlete carries
with it special considerations that cannot be irgnored. Coaching a female athlete is a
much more emotional process than coaching a male athlete. These emotions can be both
extremely challenging and extremely rewarding for the coach. I have heard it said that the
coach sometimes becomes more like the mother, the father, the brother, the sister, the
grandparents, the teacher, the counselor, the psychologist, the nutritionist, and the
friend of the athlete than the coach. The bond that develops between a male coach and a
female athlete can grow to be a very strong relationship of trust, respect, admiration,
and sometimes deep affection.
Consequently, it is important that the coach never lose sight of the
professional nature of this bond. A coach must be careful not to fall into the trap of
misinterpreting his relationship with his athletes. Under absolutely no circumstances can
a coach interpret this relationship as one of physical attraction or love. The coach must
never cross the line that separates coaching from courtship. When a coach becomes
romantically involved with an athlete, he violates not only the coach/athlete bond but
also the law. When this bond is violated, the coach places his athletes in the face of
great danger and severe, long-lasting emotional and physical harm. The coach exposes
himself, as well, to a series of dire consequences that could very seriously damage his
future and his livlihood. With a little cool, logical thinking, it is easy to see that the
trust and respect that grow between a male coach and a female athlete cannot and must not
If the bond is carefully nurtured with professionalism and the welfare
of the athlete kept in mind, the bond will grow into a lifelong bond of friendship. The
coach will enjoy the strong bonds and relationships that he has established with his young
athletes long after he has retired from the sport that he loves.
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