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Professionalism Between a Male Coach and a Female Athlete

Randy Rossi
Irvine High School
Irvine, CA

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 be violated.

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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