Minimising the Risk of Coach Burnout: From Research to Practice

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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Paid coaches have to regularly deal with a range of potential stressors in the workplace. These stressors may include emotional and physical demands caused by the complex nature of coaching work. Many coaches have developed useful strategies to cope with these demands. Nevertheless, unexpected changes within the dynamic environment in which they typically operate (e.g., injury, public scrutiny, social media), problems with members of the board or management, continuous negative performance results, or personal factors may challenge the adequacy of coaches’ coping mechanisms. This inability to cope with these stresses can lead to a state of chronic stress. If that state manifests permanently, it can result in a state of emotional exhaustion, ultimately leading to coach burnout. The aim of this article is to define the burnout phenomenon and to provide a clear description of the triggering factors. Furthermore, ideas are presented to guide how coaches can protect themselves and how officials (club or association management) can reduce coaches’ burnout.

Sebastian Altfeld, Paul Schaffran, and Michael Kellmann are with the Faculty of Sports Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.

Jens Kleinert is with the Psychological Institute, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Michael Kellmann is also with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Author Note: This article is based on the project “Stress conditions of coaches: Diagnostics and Intervention” (ZMV14 – 071003/15-17) sponsored by the Federal Institute of Sports Science (BISp), and the article: Altfeld, S., Schaffran, P., Sulprizio, M., Kleinert, J., & Kellmann, M. (2016). Dem Ausbrennen vorbeugen: Welche Faktoren Trainer bedrohen und wie sie sich schützen können [Preventing burnout: Which factors threat coaches and what they can do to protect themselves]. Leistungssport, 46(5), 35–40.

Address author correspondence to Sebastian Altfeld at sebastian.altfeld@rub.de.
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