The study explored the competition between teammates for playing time (i.e., positional competition) within university team sports from the athletes’ perspective. Sixteen Canadian interuniversity team sport athletes (11 women, 5 men) participated in semistructured interviews. Results revealed that positional competition (a) occurs between players in the same position, (b) is necessary to determine playing time, (c) is an ongoing, omni-present process, and (d) happens under the awareness of the coach. Furthermore, various inputs (by the individual athlete, team, coach), processes (performance-related, information-related), and outcomes (individual, collective) became apparent. Positional competition is a group process that occurs across multiple competitive situations (e.g., practices, games). Future research is needed to clearly define and operationalize it as its own construct.
Harenberg, Riemer, Dorsch, and Karreman are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.