Women Coaches’ Perceptions of Their Sport Organizations’ Social Environment: Supporting Coaches’ Psychological Needs?

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Justine B. Allen University of Otago

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Sally Shaw University of Otago

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Researchers have argued that coaches are performers in their own right and that their psychological needs should be considered (Giges, Petitpas, & Vernacchia, 2004; Gould, Greenleaf, Guinan, & Chung, 2002). The purpose of this research was to examine high performance women coaches’ perceptions of their sport organizations’ social context, with specific attention to psychological need support. Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2002) was employed to frame the examination of the coaches’ experiences. Eight high performance women coaches from two sport organizations participated in semistructured interviews. All reported autonomy and competence development opportunities. Organizational relatedness was critical to the experience of a supportive environment. The findings provide insight into the “world of coaching” from the coaches’ perspective.

Allen and Shaw are with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.

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