High-performance (HP) coaching is a demanding profession. The proportion of woman HP coaches is reported to be in the range of 8.4–20%. Mental health concerns in elite sports have recently gained attention, but mainly focusing on athletes. Beyond coach burnout, limited attention has been given to coaches’ mental health. A recent coach burnout review included only one paper that focused exclusively on women. It has been argued that women HP coaches face greater challenges in a male-dominated coaching culture. The purpose of this study was to explore challenges experienced by women HP coaches and their perceived associations with sustainability and mental health. Thirty-seven female HP coaches participated by answering a semistructured, open-ended questionnaire. All responses were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis, which resulted in two general dimensions: challenges of working as women HP coaches and sustainability and well-being as women HP coaches. Overall, results indicate that challenges reported might be common not only for all HP coaches, but also highlight gender-specific elements. Consequently, coach retention and sustainability would benefit from more attention on well-being and mental health among HP coaches.
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Göran Kenttä, Marte Bentzen, Kristen Dieffenbach and Peter Olusoga
Lorenzo Lolli, Alan M. Batterham, Gregory MacMillan, Warren Gregson and Greg Atkinson
Purposeful engagement with community matters continues to underpin the U.K. government’s approach to sport and sports coaching. However, although there is an emerging body of work related to the domain of community sport coaching, the development of skills, knowledge, and competencies for sports coaches is often focused in the field of sports performance. This leaves questions regarding the nature, function, supportive coaching strategies, and contextual effectiveness for coaches working within community sport settings/initiatives. The purpose of this study is to share suggestions for how community sports programs can be best managed and facilitated by sports leaders and coaches. Results of an action research project with 13 community sport coaches in the United Kingdom are used to inform the discussion. Four approaches to community sports coaching are shown contribute to building coach–participant relationships, satisfaction, and project/practice success: (a) establish common ground, (b) develop relationships, (c) prioritize inclusivity (through establishing behavioral boundaries and through game/activity management), and (d) highlight meaningful activity and contribution to games for all participants.
Philippe Vonnard and Sébastien Cala
The present paper looks at the different positions two major international sport federations, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), took with respect to East Germany during the 1950s. Because these positions were greatly influenced by FIFA’s and the FIS’s prior relations with Germany and by the challenges posed by global politics, this study begins by examining these relations during the interwar period. By combining information from the FIFA, FIS, and International Olympic Committee (IOC) archives with documents from the German national archives and articles published in Switzerland’s sporting press, the authors were able to highlight differences between the two federations’ approaches and show the need for studies to go beyond an IOC-centric approach.
Rhys J. Thurston
This study examines the concentration and attention span of young athletes and players, with a particular focus on engagement during meetings. It delves into the generational gap between young athletes and coaches and how technological advancements are shaping attitudes, concentration, and stimulation. It looks at how teachers are addressing the issue in classrooms and how coaches can adapt to teachers’ reengagement strategies to suit their young athletes’ learning needs. It draws on studies and research from regarded and respected educators as well as marketers who are dealing with the problem of attention spans during television commercials. Finally, it provides examples of how professional sporting organizations are structuring meetings to support athletes’ attention spans and learning needs.
During John Wooden’s final coaching season, two psychologists systematically recorded his specific teaching acts during UCLA basketball practices. Results were presented in a 1976 Psychology Today article, which garnered little media or public attention. At the time, Coach Wooden never responded to three requests for comments—twice to prepublication manuscripts and once to the published version. This memoir recounts the backstory of the study and reports some unanticipated and surprising consequences 25 years later. First, Coach Wooden handed out photocopies of the article, and second, a review of research indicated that the 1976 study was one of the earliest systematic studies of coaching.
Success in sport relies on access to high-quality coaching, yet in many sports organisations—particularly those with limited financial resources—access to coaching expertise can be problematic. Although coaching capability may exist within a sports organisation, access to and retention of coaching staff for high-performance teams can be inconsistent and dependent on a number of factors, such as conflicts of interest or lucrative contracts. In the current article, a self-study methodology guided an initiative to connect several high-performance kendō athletes and their coach via video calling/conferencing technologies. Termed the “Video Coach,” a description of the methods used is provided to demonstrate the ways in which easily accessible technologies can enable consistency in the coach–athlete exchange. The “Video Coach” approach has potential application at a high-performance level where the face-to-face exchange between coach and athlete(s) is limited; however, the initial findings suggest that success requires rapport and pedagogical skills that ensure athletes benefit from the experience.
Jos J. de Koning
Sara Kramers, Martin Camiré and Corliss Bean
Golf Canada recently restructured its national junior golf development program, Learn to Play, going from an original curriculum that focused on teaching golf skills to an updated curriculum that integrates the teaching of golf and life skills. The purpose of the study was to examine whether there were differences in program quality through implementation of the original program compared with the updated program. Five coaches using the original program and nine coaches using the updated program took part in the study over an entire summer golf season. The 14 coaches (M age = 40 years) were each systematically observed on three occasions (i.e., total of 42 observations) and completed an end-of-season program quality questionnaire. The data were subjected to descriptive statistical analyses. Results demonstrated that (a) coaches who implemented the updated program were observed fostering higher levels of program quality than coaches who implemented the original program and (b) researcher observation scores were significantly lower than coach questionnaire scores of program quality. Results are discussed to situate the influence of the updated program on markers of quality. Practical implications for coach education and explicit life skills curricula are discussed.