Why do athletes listen to their coach? An exploration of athlete perceptions of elite coaches’ credibility
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the study was to examine why elite athletes listen to their coaches. According to Potrac, Gilbert and Dennison (2013) the coach-athlete relationship is a vital component which contributes to how and why an athlete listens to their coach. Six international athletes participated within the study, all of whom were university students. The participants undertook a semi-structured interview with the researcher involving questions surrounding the relationship with their coach and what impact this had on trust within the relationship. The results highlighted reasons relating to why an athlete listens to their coach, such as: relationship between coach and athlete, trust, communication, experiences with previous coaches and the perceived foundations of the coach-athlete relationship. It was established that whilst most participants exhibited a close relationship with their coach, it was how the coach was able to meet the needs of the participant which allowed for coach-athlete relationships to function effectively. The participant who claimed to have a dysfunctional relationship attributed this to a lack of closeness with their coach. Future research is discussed following the findings of the study.
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