Accountability Coaches in Individual and Team Athletics
Who’s Yours?

By Sheryl Kline Cardiff, M.A.

Even the most driven and self-motivated athletes can benefit from having an accountability coach. This role should be filled by a peer or mentor who the athlete has great respect for, and usually someone other than his or her actual coach. In individual athletics, this may be a training partner, a non-competitive teammate (ie: If you run sprints in track, see out a middle or long distance runner on your team.), or a supporter (ie: a teacher who used to be accomplished in your sport). There are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, do not choose someone who you are in direct competition with.

In team athletics, your teammates can be your best accountability coaches. Pair up, write down two to three specific process goals for the week (what, where and when you will do something to make yourself better) and be prepared to report back to that person next week. Be sure to be specific and clear about your goals. An example would be: ‘I will squat 3 sets of 12 with 20 pound weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:30 p.m. after school and an quick snack.. When I am done, I will go to the track and do two warm up laps then run 8 100m sprints along the straight at 100% and jog the corners very easy.

Accountability coaches are important for two main reasons. First, the little things you do on a daily basis matter. Sometimes we need a little reminder that to inch towards our bigger dreams, we have to push through what we said we would do today. Second, it is more difficult for most to let a workout or a sequence slide when you have to look someone in the eyes and make that report and explain why it didn’t’ happen.