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While there is growth in research recognizing the coach as a performer, little is known about the practices of federation officials who are ‘responsible for’ and have the potential to influence coaches’ experiences. This study explores practices enacted by Norwegian federation officials within their role of working closely with the national team coach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven sports directors employed by some of Norway’s medal-winning individual sports federations. Thematic analysis furnished three theme-practices: (a) sincerely caring for the employees, (b) fostering a development focus, and (c) recruiting coaches with the organizational culture in mind. We viewed these practices as ways of enacting the federation culture and the sports directors work with the coaches as being the main support for the coach, acting frequently as a buffer with regard to both administrative and sport issues. Considering recent findings on how Norwegian national team coaches evaluate their stress experiences, the identified practices appear to be ones that can have some bearing on the coaches’ stress evaluation mechanisms and outcome expectancies. Practical implications are outlined as well as suggestions for future research extending these findings across different cultures (sports and nations).
Chroni and Skille are with the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Elverum, Norway. Abrahamsen is with the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway. Hemmestad is with the Norwegian Olympic Training Center, Oslo, Norway; and the University College of Southeast Norway, Bø, Norway.