Help Your Coach Help You

Improving your coachability

Help Your Coach Help You

Ask any coach to describe a top athlete they had the privilege to work with, and many of the same words will often appear: talented, hard-working, skilled, coachable. On the surface, these words all carry a specific meaning, but when asked to define what “being coachable” is, most coaches will describe it slightly differently.

Luckily, like any element that makes up a great athlete, coachability is a skill that can be learned. Bowlers who want to take their games to their fullest potential will need to learn to be coachable above all else.

(Editor’s note: This article is Part 3 of Tyrel’s Seven Common Problems That Can Hurt Your Bowling Scores series. Click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2.)

What is coachability?

Coachability is vaguely defined as the ability to receive coaching or the ease with which you can be trained to do something better. Even the research in articles for both business and sport varies greatly in the attributes that make up a person that is coachable. You, as a bowler, are more or less coachable based on several different factors and personality traits. Because of this, coachability is more of a spectrum than an on/off switch. What you want to do is develop the necessary traits in order to accept coaching as easily as possible for the most potential improvement.

Words and phrases commonly associated with coachable athletes

Coachable personality traits

For the purpose of establishing what makes up a coachable athlete, we will link characteristics of coachable athletes to an established theory of personality traits. With that in mind, we’ll look at the “Big Five” personality traits: agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism. Each of these can be related in some way to one or several of the characteristics often associated with coachable athletes. (Note that the definitions given below are paraphrased from various sources).


Definition: Degree to which a person tends to be compassionate and cooperative, rather than suspicious or antagonistic.

Application: Whether it is a team sport or an individual sport, all coaches point to a commitment to the team, or a sense of being part of something, as a characteristic of coachable athletes.

Highly coachable athletes should fit somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Put another way, coachable athletes are generally unselfish, but are selfish enough to have a strong motivation to improve.

Openness (to adventure)

Definition: Degree to which a person seeks out novelty and variety. High openness can be perceived as a lack of focus, while very low openness can be perceived as dogmatic or stubborn.

Application: Coachable athletes likely fall in the mid to low range of this spectrum. ...

Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Head Coach of Team Canada's Men’s National Team, a director on the national board for the Canadian Tenpin Federation, an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian National Champion. He owns and operates Gold Medal Bowling Boutique and lives in Montreal, Canada. Follow Tyrel at his bowling coaching blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.