The Impact of Stress on Sports Coaching: Sources and Coping Strategies in Non-Elite Coaches.
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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If we are to improve coaching and reduce the likelihood of the negative psychological effects of stress then we need a better understanding of the way in which stress is experienced by coaches’. Consequently, the aims of this study were to further the understanding surrounding stress encountered by non-elite coaches, examine how they appraise these stressors, explore the coping strategies that they adopt and how these stressors influence their behaviours. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with six non-elite coaches from the South Wales region, (M age = 41.6; SD = 10.65). The participants coached a range of sports such as rugby, swimming and netball and all coached at local league level or extracurricular activities. The interviews were transcribed and analysed through inductive and deductive measures with trustworthiness embedded throughout the data analysis process. A number of themes emerged from the transcriptions focusing on negative stressors (e.g., parental input and lack of time management), and positive stressors (e.g. excelling in competition and less skilful players finding success). All these findings supported previous research and it became apparent that limited amounts of stress management techniques were applicable to non-elite coaches’. It was evident that no coping strategy was favoured as emotion and problem focused strategies were found to be used equally. Avoidance coping strategies were also frequently used; this is unfavoured for coaches at any level as it can be linked to long term departure from sport as they are unable to cope. This study informed practice as it was specific to non-elite coaches and it was an in depth look into their experiences of their stress. It emerged from the study that stress management techniques need to be available to those coaches who do not have the relevant strategies to limit their stress. The help available to elite athletes and coaches should be applicable to non-elite coaches in an attempt for them to cope with the demands placed upon them and it may also help reduce burnout and withdrawal from their sports.
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