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Sebastian Harenberg, Harold A. Riemer, Erwin Karreman, and Kim D. Dorsch

Competition is a common phenomenon and occurs frequently in sports. In high performance sports, competition takes place not only between teams (interteam competition) but also within a team (intrateam competition). In the intrateam competition, coaches might play a central role because of their power to structure competition within their teams. Yet, there is a lack of research exploring how coaches facilitate this type of competition. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to explore how university-level team sport coaches’ experience, structure and use intrateam competition. Eight full-time Canadian Interuniversity Sports head coaches participated in semistructured interviews. The participants indicated that intrateam competition involves two distinct types of competition: situational and positional competition. While situational competition occurs primarily in practices, positional competition is an ongoing, continual process in which athletes who occupy the same position compete for playing time. The coaches shared important considerations about how to carefully structure and use both types of competition constructively. The study is an original account of intrateam competition as a multifaceted, constructive process within high performance sport teams.