Real-World Experiences of the Coaching Pathos: Orchestration of NCAA Division I Sport

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Wyoming
  • | 2 University of Tennessee
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Sport coaching is marked by a pathos created by limited control and limited awareness, contradictory beliefs, and novelty. Still, coaches can enhance the likelihood of optimal outcomes through orchestration, a process marked by unobtrusive, flexible actions that enhance athletes’ ability to work toward competitive goals (Jones & Wallace, 2005). This research sought to create a detailed understanding of pathos and orchestration in collegiate coaching. Participants were 10 head coaches from National Collegiate Athletic Association universities. Analysis of semistructured interviews produced four themes: (a) true control is limited but attempted control is extensive, (b) orchestration strategies are varied in context and method, (c) relationships enhance the effectiveness of the orchestration process, and (d) planning the next step allows for relative stability in the pathos. These results expand our understanding of pathos and orchestration, suggesting the concepts have promise in educating coaches about sources of adversity and the means to mitigate them.

Readdy is with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Health, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY. Zakrajsek and Raabe are with the Division of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

Address author correspondence to Tucker Readdy at
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