The relationship between a coach and adult athletes is similar to a manager and their staff in a workplace. A high-performing team will be characterized by respect and a sense of purpose being shared between the coach and the players.

This does not mean that the coach is necessarily friends with the players and they may not socialize with the players outside of team commitments. At some stage the coach may need to discipline, or even dismiss, players and this can test the strength of even the best of friendships. It is not that coaches and players cannot be friends, however many coaches prefer to keep the relationship on a more business-like level.

The players need the coach to care about them as people, not just as an athletes. Senior players usually want to hear news (particularly bad news) from the coach, not some delegate, and senior players usually want to have input into decisions about the team. The extent to which the coach is willing to do this will depend upon their coaching style and personality.

Increasingly, people connect and communicate electronically through social media platforms and the coach must decide whether or not they wish to do so with their athletes. Some coaches will do so as they feel it gives them an insight into the player’s personality and lives. Other coaches choose not to do so, preferring not to mix social and business relationships.