Mental Toughness in Elite Sport Coaches
University of Wales
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Five elite sport coaches agreed to be interviewed about mental toughness within the coaching environment. The study was to gain insight into the mental toughness of a coach rather than an athlete, as has been investigated previously (Jones, Hanton, and Connaughton, 2002), and to understand how in which ways it can be developed in coaches. Four main aims of the study were: (a) to find out coaches understanding of mental toughness within the coaching environment; (b) how mental toughness influences their coaching practice; (c) how coaches believe mental toughness is developed; and (d) how coach education workshops can help support coaches to develop mental toughness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain rich information and knowledge regarding the main aims of the study. Findings from the interviews suggested a broad range of understanding of mental toughness from the coaches such as resilience, coping and thriving under pressure. The influence mental toughness has on their coaching practice was that they were resilient, used coping strategies, and impression management to overcome the complex coaching environment. The coaches suggested that developing mental toughness came through communication with players and other coaches, gaining experience through coaching, being resilient, and reflection on the positive and negative aspects of their coaching. The final aim of how coach education workshops can help develop mental toughness drew the suggestions of using mentorship and allowing younger coaches to gain experience of coaching whilst working alongside someone with experience and knowledge. It was also suggested that task based workshop could aid developing decision making, reflection, and becoming self-aware of oneself. The findings from the study suggest implications for National Governing Bodies to develop coach education programmes based on the topics found in this study such as mentorship and reflective practice. The study also suggests that using this knowledge of how it’s developed can help to inform the coaching environment and help other coaches to better understand how mental toughness has an impact on coaches within everyday life as a coach.
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Connaughton, Declan (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff., 2008)This thesis provided an in-depth examination of mental toughness in sports performers, and comprised three studies, of which Study 3 contained two parts. The aim of the thesis was to: define mental toughness, identify ...
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