Episode 48: Bryce Lewis on the Modern Coach-Athlete Relationship

As Bryce Lewis, IFP Champion, Drug-Free Powerlifting Coach, and founder of The Strength Athlete, puts it, “The whole relationship between a coach and an athlete is hinged upon success or failure in making the athlete better.” So how can we ensure this relationship will lead to success? On Episode 48 of our Podcast, Bryce Lewis helps us answer this complex question.

He begins by mapping the modern world of sport (specifically powerlifting) as a landscape redefined by the rise of remote coaching. He then identifies some of the unique threats that such a landscape poses to the coach-athlete relationship.

For athletes seeking a high quality coach, the increased volume of specialized coaching services can make it hard to suss out the right fit. Bryce offers “intent” as a useful metric for evaluating coaches, then describes the telltale signs of sincerity.

He also offers advice to coaches challenged by a related consequence of today’s market: more temptation for athletes to program-hop. “Instead of rewarding [athletes’ numbers],” Bryce suggests, “it’s a good idea to reward their effort.” He details this and other coaching practices that can help athletes become internally motivated so they’re more likely to stick to their programs when training gets difficult.

After tackling issues associated with the modern coach-athlete relationship, Bryce sheds some light on what can make it successful. He details the 4C’s, a framework developed by Dr. Sophia Jowett, one of the leading researchers on interpersonal relationships in sport.

After describing each of these C’s-- “Closeness”, “Commitment”, “Complementarity”, and “Co-Orientation”-- as Jowett defines them, Bryce gives insight into how they can be fostered between coaches and athletes. He also explains why cultivating these four relational characteristics leads to a productive, enduring, and successful coach-athlete relationship.

To learn more about how Bryce’s applies his perspective on the coach-athlete relationship, follow him on Instagram @bryce_tsa or visit his website: thestrengthathlete.com.