To explore coaches’ perceptions of the impact of closeness on the coach-athlete relationship in a team sport.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Interpersonal relations such as the coach-athlete relationship can be vital to successful coaching (Lyle, 2002). Sophia Jowett conceptualised the 4 C’s which underpin the coachathlete relationship and implemented them in her research. However, there is need for further research and understanding of one of her C’s, namely closeness (Jowett, 2007a). This dissertation explores coaches’ perceptions of the impact of closeness on the coachathlete relationship. Three experienced rugby union coaches were interviewed on their perceptions of the impact of closeness. The results suggested that closeness can change in different situations and that individual characteristics, time and care influence the amount of closeness. Very close relationships and distant relationship both have positive and negative effects on the coach-athlete relationship and the optimum balance was suggested as being closer rather than distant. To conclude, the findings show that coaches should be aware of how close relationships form as well as how they change in different situations. Furthermore, coaches should knowingly attempt to build the correct amount of closeness with their athletes. This would lead to further enjoyment, improvement and ideal performance.
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