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Managing the Complexity: An Ethnographic Approach to Understanding Noticing Within Orchestration

Aubrey Newland and Lori A. Gano-Overway

Sport coaching is an inherently complex endeavor. To manage this complexity, some coaches engage in orchestration to plan, organize, monitor, and respond to the dynamic sport environment. Using an ethnographic approach, the current research aimed to understand how a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II female basketball coach orchestrated the complex and relational nature of coaching over the course of a sport season and with particular attention to how noticing occurred and informed orchestration. A combination of formal and informal coach and player interviews, observation and field notes, and audio reflections of the coach was carried out over the course of the season. The authors used a realist tale to illustrate the complexity of the coaching experience and how the coach used noticing and relational schemas to navigate ambiguity, the micropolitical landscape, and interpersonal relationships to steer the team toward personal growth and high performance.

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Managing Challenging Situations in the Coach–Athlete Dyad: Introducing the Grey Zone Model From the Coach Perspective

Katelynn Slade, Sophia Jowett, and Daniel Rhind

Challenging situations and interactions are necessary and unavoidable in sport. From deselection to injury, burnout, and mental health issues, coaches and athletes will face challenging situations throughout their sporting career. The aims of this research study were to (a) introduce a conceptual model of challenging situations and subsequently to (b) explore a range of challenging situations that occur in high-performance sport, and (c) discover how such challenging situations are managed and perceived by high-performance coaches. In this study, challenging situations in coach–athlete dyads are defined as organisational, performance, interpersonal, and personal stressors that can push or pull one or both the coach and athlete, and subsequently their relationship into a state of indeterminacy (i.e., the Grey Zone) that may cause stress, strain, conflict, or resolution and understanding depending on how the challenging situations are managed. A total of 11 current high-performance and World Class Performance coaches (M = 41.64 years old, SD = 10.69 years; female = 4, male = 7), took part in a semistructured interview aided by vignettes to explore and discover the process by which coaches deal with challenging situations. Using a pragmatism approach, a content analysis guided by the conceptual Grey Zone Model was utilised to analyse the obtained qualitative data. Results indicated that coaches regularly experience challenging situations and use a variety of techniques to manage them. The Grey Zone Model is proposed as a practical tool to help coaches, athletes, and other practitioners, such as sport psychology consultants and coach developers to analyse the various phases of challenging situations.

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Erratum. Position Paper: Rationale for a Focused Attention on Mental Health of High-Performance Sports Coaches

International Sport Coaching Journal

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Competence—One Term, Various Definitions: A Scoping Review for Sports Coach Education and Research

Annalena Möhrle

The competence of sports coaches is a key factor in athletes’ sporting success. Mindful of this, sports coach education and research have placed considerable emphasis on competence in recent years. A lack of shared understanding around the concept complicates the endeavour, raising the following question: How is the term “competence” in relation to coaches defined in coach education and research? I sought to answer this research question via a scoping review. In database and internet searches, I obtained n = 1,912 hits and identified n = 14 sports coaching frameworks. Following title and abstract screening and full-text assessment, I conducted content analysis on n = 47 publications. The results indicate frequent use of the term, with few attempts to define it. Where definitions occur, they usually fall into one of two types: Type A, found in empirical studies written in English, describes the term in relation to their athletes’ sporting success. Type B, found in all types of publications (theoretical, empirical and practical), defines it in terms of the knowledge and skills a coach requires in order to succeed in coaching situations. This paper concludes with a recommendation for a shared multi-faceted definition of “competence” in relation to coaches.

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Relationship Between Short- and Long-Term Planning in Sports: A 12-Week Case Study of a Spanish Canoeing Coach

Jardel Costa, Gonçalo Neves, Fábio Yuzo Nakamura, João Ribeiro, Ana Ramos, Lee Bell, Manuel Loureiro, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Isabel Mesquita, Patrícia Coutinho, and José Afonso

This study aimed to bridge the gap in the literature on real-world analyses of coaches’ approaches to planning. A 12-week qualitative case study of a Spanish canoeing coach was carried out to examine the relationship between long- and short-term planning, analyze adaptations made to the original designs, and thus, enhance current understanding of this dialogue in a specific real-life context. To achieve this purpose, the first author followed the participant during training sessions in an unobtrusive manner, recording any relevant topic related to the research goal in the form of field observation notes. Weekly semistructured interviews were also carried out. Data were examined through thematic analysis, and two main themes were identified: (a) interplay and tension management between short- and long-term planning and (b) the dynamic tension between club and national team planning. Findings observed that the coach’s application of concepts related to planning usually had to be adapted. Indeed, external factors and demands obligated the coach to attribute more emphasis to short-term planning, despite the existence of a long-term plan. Moreover, findings established the need to understand sports planning as a micropolitical process, influenced by external pressures, organizational demands, and the constraints generated by sports practitioners.

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In Every End, There Is Also a Beginning: Experiences of Career Transitions Through Sport

Christine Nash and Melissa Thompson

In sport, as in life, people experience transitions on a regular basis. This exploratory research examined the experience of the transitional process within sport using a qualitative methodology. The seven participants had worked within their sport for over 30 years, first as an athlete, then a coach, and finally a coach developer. Semistructured interviews with each participant (x2) allowed for exploration of their experiences of changing roles within their organizations and revealed three themes: importance of timely support, ongoing professional conversations, and where am I going with this? These themes, exemplified by the use of direct quotes from the participants, were used to provide context and deeper understanding of the transition from athlete to coach to coach developer. The participants revealed a certain degree of serendipity, due to a lack of structure and process in their experiences. As a result, we suggest some practical steps that organizations could adopt to assist in this process.

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Burnout, Help Seeking, and Perceptions of Psychological Safety and Stigma Among National Collegiate Athletic Association Coaches

Julie M. Slowiak, Rebecca R. Osborne, Jordyn Thomas, and Adna Haasan

Sport coaches face unique work-related demands that, over time, can lead to negative well-being outcomes, such as burnout. The link between burnout and mental health is supported in the literature, and public stigma around mental health has been identified as a prominent barrier to seeking help. The aim of this study was to investigate how burnout and help-seeking attitudes of National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches are impacted by psychological safety and public stigma associated with seeking help. A sample of 187 National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches participated in a cross-sectional online survey and reported sociodemographic and job-related characteristics, public stigma, self and team psychological safety, burnout, and attitudes toward help seeking. Regression-based mediation analyses revealed that greater psychological safety predicted lower levels of exhaustion and disengagement as well as more positive help-seeking attitudes. In addition, public stigma partially mediated the influence of psychological safety on exhaustion and disengagement and fully mediated the relationship between psychological safety and help-seeking attitudes. No differences in exhaustion, disengagement, and help-seeking attitudes among National Collegiate Athletic Association coaches across Divisions I, II, and III were observed. Findings lend support for intervention development to increase psychological safety as a burnout management strategy as well as to reduce public stigma associated with help seeking.

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Understanding Well-Being in High-Performance Coaches: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach

Marketa Simova, Peter Olusoga, Christopher J. Brown, and Stiliani “Ani” Chroni

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to explore, in depth, well-being within the unique context of high-performance sports coaching. The aim was to capture the process of well-being while considering the contextual nuances and influences of high-performance coaching environments in a mid-range theory of coaches’ well-being. Design: Constructivist grounded theory served as a guiding approach for data collection and analysis. Method: Individual interviews (n = 20) were conducted with methodological rigour enhanced by originality, usefulness, resonance, and credibility. Aligned with the methodology, we utilised theoretical sampling to aid the development of individual categories. Results: Findings suggest that well-being is an integrating process between coaches’ personal values (identity) and culturally prescribed values (identity), with a degree of harmony as the overall goal. Conclusion: The mid-range theory presents a contextually bound process of coaches’ well-being. It provides a more practical insight into the area and highlights the importance of cultural considerations and competencies.

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Appropriateness Applied: A Renewed Coaching Perspective to Reach Out to Every Athlete

Ana Ramos, João Ribeiro, José Afonso, and Isabel Mesquita

Beyond teaching models/approaches, currently sports coaching literature is lacking on conceptual frameworks that offer a pedagogical structure capable of being adjusted and applied (i.e., appropriated) to athletes’ needs and diverse sport contexts. The Appropriateness Framework (AF) is a pedagogical structure to help sport practitioners in building meaningful learning environments while respecting inter- and intraindividual variations throughout the learning process. The innovative character of the AF relies on integrating simultaneously well-known and widespread concepts and principles from sports pedagogy and coaching, as well as extending the concept of representativeness to athletes’ features and motivations. This practical advance article aims to present the AF, namely their conceptual pillars (i.e., premises) and sequential procedures of operationalization (i.e., steps), as well as to exemplify how it can be used through practical cases. From a theoretical viewpoint, the application of AF is independent of any teaching model and/or specific athlete-centered approach. Thus, from a practical standpoint, this paper represents a guideline for coaches adopting process-oriented learning perspective that might be applied in several sport contexts and potentiates the “reaching out” of every athlete.

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A Principles-Focused Evaluation of a Coach Education Program

Sara Campbell, Jori N. Hall, and Bryan McCullick

There is little evidence that coach developers have put research on coach education programs (CEPs) to use. Thus, the purpose of this study was to conduct a principles-focused evaluation of a CEP. Principles-focused evaluation posits an evaluation should be judged by whether it produces information that is useful to program stakeholders. The evaluation took place over 17 months and included three phases. In Phase 1, the evaluator assessed and built readiness for the evaluation. In Phase 2, the evaluator worked with five practitioners from the CEP to develop a list of principles guiding the program. In Phase 3, the evaluator and CEP practitioners collaboratively designed and implemented an evaluation of the principles. The evaluation findings revealed how the practitioners applied the principles, along with which principles were meaningful to them. These findings were used to make changes to the original list of principles and to teach others in the program about the principles. Moreover, the practitioners underwent changes in thinking and behavior as a result of participating in the evaluation. This study demonstrates the potential of program evaluation, evaluation theories, collaborative inquiry, and renewed focus on how, or if, findings are used by practitioners.