This study explored which strength and conditioning (S&C) coaching behaviors and characteristics are perceived as effective by elite athletes and how these influence the athletes. A secondary aim was to consider the development and usefulness of vignettes to elicit new knowledge. Ten elite athletes reflected on scenarios presented in vignettes. Resulting themes were divided into the processes and factors influencing athletes and how the athletes are affected. The athletes considered these themes effective because the coach had built an environment of trust and respect. How coaches might influence athletes were divided into cognitive influences and behavioral influences. The results are discussed in light of current sport coaching literature, and the way vignettes enhance the richness of the data collection is reflected on. Practically, the results suggest that S&C coaches can build trust and respect to influence athletes’ development through effective instruction, communication, and motivation.
Szedlak is with the Sport and Wellbeing, Sports Training & Performance Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom. Smith and Day are with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom. Callary is with Community Studies, Sport and Human Kinetics, Cape Breton University, Sydney, NS, Canada.