How Coaches See Conscientiousness-Related Traits and Their Impact on Athletes’ Training and Expertise Development

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 Bishop’s University
  • 2 University of Ottawa
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Conscientiousness, grit, and self-control are personality characteristics that have been shown to differentially predict several criteria of expertise development, including athletes’ deliberate practice and higher skill levels. However, little is known about coaches’ views on (a) how these conscientiousness-related traits translate into behaviors within the daily training environment or (b) the relevance of these traits for athletes’ quantity and quality of practice and development toward expert levels of performance. To fill these gaps, semistructured open-ended interviews were conducted with 11 high-performance coaches (nine males and two females) of individual and team sports, and national and international competitive levels. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis guidelines. The coaches’ descriptions evidenced some overlap between the investigated traits and a partial view of these constructs. They generally believed that grit, conscientiousness, and self-control play critical roles on athletes’ quality of practice and skill development. Notably, the coaches highlighted that tendencies to persevere despite adversity and mindfully use self-regulated processes seem to be powerful predispositions for athletes’ development toward expert performance levels. The results suggested potential mechanisms to help explain the observed relationship between conscientiousness-related traits and athletes’ quality of practice and skill development.

Tedesqui is with the Department of Sports Studies, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Young is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Tedesqui (rafael.tedesqui@ubishops.ca) is corresponding author.
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