College Coaches’ Experiences with Stress—“Problem Solvers” Have Problems, Too

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Melinda Frey University of Utah

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Research has demonstrated that coaches experience stress because of the nature of their job and that stress can affect their physical and mental well-being (Richman, 1992; Wang & Ramsey, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to better understand coaches’ experiences with stress, the perceived effects of stress on their coaching performance, and their coping strategies. A semistructured interview approach was used with 10 NCAA Division I male and female head coaches. The five major themes that characterized the coaches’ experiences were contextual/conditional factors, sources of stress, responses and effects of stress, managing stress, and sources of enjoyment. The results are discussed in relation to Smith’s (1986) cognitive-affective model of stress. Opportunities for future research are suggested, and implications for practitioners who want to help coaches manage the stress of their profession are offered.

Frey is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

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