Six things family and friends of athletes should — and shouldn’t — do

Nov 24, 2015

Originally published in Coaches plan by the Coaching Association of Canada on (Original post available here).

Fans cheering in crowdHaving folks near and dear to them rooting in the stands can be exhilarating for athletes, but there is a downside too. Here are some reminders coaches can pass on to family and friends of to ensure they help — and don’t hinder — the performance of their athletes.

1. Keep questions and notes of support to a minimum, as they can be distracting and exhausting to athletes

2. Designate one person who will be the lead contact for all friends and family for a particular athlete so they can be kept updated without bombarding the athlete

3. Don’t offer advice on mental state and performance techniques at this stage of the game — leave that to the coaches and sports psychologists

4. Avoid providing ‘insights’ to media about the athlete. Instead, contact your sport media spokesperson for help in preparing for possible media questions

5. Resist the urge to offer your well wishes right before a competition as this can detract from focus and preparation

6. Don’t ask athletes for tickets as they rarely have access to them. Instead contact the National Sports Federation or whoever is designated to access tickets for the team


Adapted from the Family & Friends Planning Guide and Helpful Tips, Canadian Olympic Committee, 2014

Coaches plan is an online magazine for Canada’s coaches published three times a year by the Coaching Association of Canada.  To read more Coaches plan articles, please visit