An Exploration of Athletes’ Perceptions of Loyalty within a Coach-Athlete Relationship
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Objectives: To explore athletes’ perceptions of loyalty and its importance within their coach-athlete relationships. Specifically, the study examines how athletes view their coaches’ decisions and actions (verbal and non-verbal) and the consequent effect on their feelings of loyalty towards them. Method: Participants were eight athletes aged 18 and above, who at the time of the study trained with a personal coach a minimum of three times a week. Each participant was interviewed within the framework provided by a semi-structured interview guide. Interviewed were then transcribed and categorised into key themes. Following this the raw data was displayed within a table and divided into categories, sub-categories and key themes. Results: The importance of commitment from both the coach and athlete and well as effective communication and honesty was a key finding. Athletes’ perceived trust, respect and loyalty as critical within their relationship, yet there was varied opinion about what each of these constructs entailed. Generally, disloyalty was imagined to break down the relationship resulting in decreased performance or even an exit from the coach, the sport or both. Conclusion: The nature of coaching is complex and dependent upon individual preference. It is recommended that coaches engage with their athletes on a personal level in order to form a close bond and understanding of that athlete. Effective coach-athlete relationships where loyalty is present therefore have potential to make an important contribution to success in both performance and personal development.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT COACHING
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