EXPERIENCE IN RUGBY UNION AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH COMPETITION STRESS AND COPING RESPONSES
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The present study aimed to explore the relationship with competition stress and coping responses in its entirety between experienced and inexperienced rugby union players (2 experienced, 3 inexperienced). Participants were interviewed about their previous experiences pre, during and post competitive games. The results indicated that experience doesn’t influence each stage of the stress process a great deal revealing the theme of injury as the only different stressor encountered by the experienced athletes. It provides support for previous literature that certain positions within rugby union have specific performance indicators, as a result experience unique stressors. It also indicated that experienced athletes are more familiar with the stressors they encounter; therefore appraise the stressors as less harmful. Although the findings do highlight that experience does influence the coping process. Avoidance coping was employed more by the inexperienced athletes suggesting experienced athletes are more functional and more efficient when coping. Additionally results revealed that experienced athletes used simulation training in order to cope with stressors but both groups identified that they need time in their training schedules to do so, therefore coaches should give a specific amount of training time to the individual within training session so they can focus on individual stressors that they encounter, in training. Future research should continue to adopt a holistic approach and adopt a specific timescale like the one used within this study when exploring the stress and emotion process. This will gain a more in depth understanding of athlete’s stressful experiences at certain times of competition.
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