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The quality of the coach-athlete relationship is important to athlete development and overall performance in sport. To better enable coaches to foster this relationship, this study was designed to use an integrative personality framework (McAdams, 2013) to gain a deeper, more contextualized understanding of the athlete. Using a case study approach, two Division III collegiate soccer players completed a three-part survey that profiled these individuals as a social actor (layer one), motivated agent (layer two), and autobiographical author (layer three). Results are presented for each athlete, yielding rich, yet different, personality profiles. These profiles identify particular traits, motives, and personal stories that uniquely shape the personalities of these individuals. We discuss the efficacy of using McAdams’ framework as a guiding structure for helping elite coaches better understand their athletes and, subsequently, further develop the coach-athlete relationship. We also discuss the use of McAdams’ framework in the sport context and how it might provide useful insights for advancing the psychological profiling of athletes.
Trevor Prophet is a research assistant at the Loy Institute For Leadership at the United States Coast Guard Academy, focusing on how to best develop cadets as leaders. He was a two-sport collegiate athlete and completed his MA in psychology while coaching soccer at both the collegiate and club level the past four years.
Jefferson A. Singer is the dean of the College and the Faulk Foundation Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, USA. He is the author of six books and over 100 articles in the fields of clinical psychology, personality, and autobiographical memory. He is a past recipient of a Fulbright Award to the United Kingdom and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Ira Martin has served as the Leader in Residence at the Loy Institute For Leadership at the United States Coast Guard Academy. He has taught a variety of collegiate courses ranging from Sport Psychology to Organizational Behavior and Leadership. An avid sport fan and hockey player for 20+ years, his research focuses on student, athlete, and coach leader development.
Tristan Coulter is a lecturer in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Queensland University of Technology. He holds a PhD and Master’s degree in sportpPsychology and is a registered psychologist in both the UK and Australia. His areas of specialisation include mental toughness and personality profiling in sport.