Coaches’ Perceptions of Athletes’ Psychobiosocial States: The Case of Three Tennis Coach-Athlete Dyads

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 University of Jyväskylä
  • 2 Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
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Considering the limited attention paid to interpersonal aspects of emotions, this study explored coaches’ perceptions of athletes’ performance-related states and how they used this information for its regulation. Using a case study approach, three coach-athlete dyads from competitive tennis took part in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Individualized profiling of psychobiosocial states was used to assess athletes’ states in most and least successful performances and as a way of data triangulation. Findings indicated that the coaches paid attention to bodily, motor-behavioural, and operational components of a performance state, and used this information to appropriately adapt their responses to the players’ needs, via the provision of positive reinforcement, and performance-related feedback. The coaches described themselves as calm, patient, and understanding; characteristics that appeared to be vital for the coach-athlete relationship and the coaches’ emotional competence. Findings are discussed within the contexts of emotion regulation and coach-athlete relationship, and how they might be useful to help coaches develop emotional competence.

Stephanie Mueller is with the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyvaskyla, Finland. Montse C. Ruiz is with the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Stiliani “Ani” Chroni is with Sport Psychology, Pedagogy and Sports Coaching at Inland Norway School of Sport Sciences, Elverum, Norway.

Address author correspondence to Montse C. Ruiz at montse.ruiz@jyu.fi.
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