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Competition is a common phenomenon and occurs frequently in sports. In high performance sports, competition takes place not only between teams (interteam competition) but also within a team (intrateam competition). In the intrateam competition, coaches might play a central role because of their power to structure competition within their teams. Yet, there is a lack of research exploring how coaches facilitate this type of competition. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to explore how university-level team sport coaches’ experience, structure and use intrateam competition. Eight full-time Canadian Interuniversity Sports head coaches participated in semistructured interviews. The participants indicated that intrateam competition involves two distinct types of competition: situational and positional competition. While situational competition occurs primarily in practices, positional competition is an ongoing, continual process in which athletes who occupy the same position compete for playing time. The coaches shared important considerations about how to carefully structure and use both types of competition constructively. The study is an original account of intrateam competition as a multifaceted, constructive process within high performance sport teams.
Sebastian Harenberg is a sessional lecturer with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. He holds a PhD in Sport Psychology and has been involved in coaching soccer at the youth and university level for over six years. He has published his research in various sport coaching journals.
Harold Riemer is dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies at the University of Regina. His research interests include group dynamics in a team sport context, in particular the role of leadership on outcomes. He has been involved in coaching at the youth and elite level for over 20 years.
Erwin Karreman is a research scientist with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. He holds a PhD in Kinesiology and Health Studies and his research interests are in team sport performance.
Kim Dorsch is a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. She is currently the chair of the Coaching Association of Canada’s Research Committee.