CARING IN THE COACH-ATHLETE RELATIONSHIP – AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This piece of research builds on existing work into sports coaching by exploring the intricacies of the coach-athlete relationship. The study uses an autoethnographic approach in an effort to investigate the complex and dynamic relationship that occurred between me; an elite level rugby player and my coach while playing in New Zealand. This unique coach-athlete relationship was based around two critical incidents presented as short stories. The stories, ‘Injury and Personal Management: The Caring Coach’ and ‘Enter Varsity - The Social Power of Caring’ focus on the caring I felt while being nurtured back to the playing field through injury, and how the quality of the caring coach-athlete relationship created strong relational power respectively. The two stories are separate but connected, with similar social issues of caring and coach-athlete relations running through the two contrasting incidents. The interpretation is channelled and theorised through previous work on the coach-athlete relationship. Applying such theory is thought to help understand and distinguish why I felt the feelings I did and how they maybe recreated. The final thoughts connect the two critical incidents together and the conclusion offers a summary of the paper and the value of autoethnography in understanding the aims of the study. A future implication that could be considered would be to use the study as a reference for future coaches with an interest in caring through the coach-athlete relationship. The research could inform the decisions and practices of other coaches in helping to develop a positive coach-athlete relationship based on caring across a wider field of coaching.
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