The overall purpose of this study was to examine stressors, coping strategies, and perceived coping effectiveness among professional rugby union players. Eight first class professional male rugby union players maintained diaries over a 28-day period. The diaries included a stressor checklist, an open-ended coping response section, and a Likert-type scale evaluation of coping effectiveness. Total reported stressors and coping strategies were tallied and analyzed longitudinally. The most frequently cited stressors were injury concerns, mental errors, and physical errors. The most frequently cited coping strategies were increased concentration, blocking, positive reappraisal, and being focused on the task. The most effective coping strategies were focusing on task and increasing effort. Professional rugby players use a variety of different coping strategies in order to manage the stressors they experience, but the effectiveness of their coping attempts can vary.
Adam R. Nicholls is a Research Fellow with the Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University, Fairfax Hall, Leeds, LS6 3QS, UK. Nicholas L. Holt is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6E 2H9, Canada. Remco C.J. Polman is a Lecturer and Jonny Bloomfield a strength and conditioning coach, and both are with the Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull, North Humberside, HU6 7RX, UK. E-mail: A.R.Nicholls@leedsmet.ac.uk