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Sports Coaching in an Online Space: What Can We Learn From Endurance Sport Coaches?

Jamie Blanchfield, Jean McArdle, and Tandy Haughey

Within endurance sports (ES), a practice exists in which online remote coaching (RC) is a necessary construct. This study aimed to examine the processes of ES coaches to gain insight into the experiences of coaches engaging in RC before COVID-19 forced others to do the same. To achieve this aim, semistructured interviews were conducted with ES coaches (N = 7; M = 6, F = 1). Transcripts were subject to thematic analysis, with three dimensions (a) remote coach and ES, (b) process of remote coaching, and (c) delivery of training online being identified. An additional 17 higher and 79 lower order themes were found. Results found that to be effective online, ES coaches utilised technology such as instant messaging and online software to increase presence and decrease the perceived distance from athletes. They aimed to create autonomous athletes both by choice and by necessity. The ease of access through technology had a negative and positive impact on work–life balance. A process was developed whereby only technology that served a purpose to further athlete outcomes was used and balanced with subjective feedback. Further research is needed to garner athlete expectations and experiences of RC.

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Stressors Experienced by Professional Jockeys

Lewis King, Sarah Jane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty

The purpose of this study was to explore the sources of stress reported by professional jockeys. In total, 15 jockeys participated in semistructured interviews that included apprentice, conditional, and senior jockeys. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data that included inductive and deductive approaches. Jockeys reported a wide range of stress sources. Four core themes were identified and categorized as competitive (current form or being in a slump, pressure, horse, injury, opponents, tactical, and race day), racing industry (weight, workload, travel demands, injury concerns, suspension, and facilities), interpersonal (trainer, other jockeys, expectations of others, support networks, and communication), and career stressors (career uncertainty, career opportunities, and transitions). The findings highlight unique stressors to the jockey population, as well as stressors common with other athlete groups. Practical applied recommendations and future research directions are provided.

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Barriers and Facilitators to Help-Seeking for Mental Health Difficulties Among Professional Jockeys in Ireland

Lewis King, SarahJane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty

A large proportion of jockeys report symptoms associated with mental health difficulties (MHDs), yet most do not seek help from professional mental health support services. Due to the paucity of literature in this field, this study sought to explore jockeys’ barriers to, and facilitators of, help-seeking for MHDs. Twelve jockeys participated in semistructured interviews, subsequently analyzed via reflexive thematic analysis. Barriers to help-seeking included the negative perceptions of others (stigma and career implications), cultural norms (masculinity and self-reliance), and low mental health literacy (not knowing where to seek help, minimization of MHDs, negative perceptions of treatment, and recognizing symptoms). Facilitators to help-seeking included education (exposure to psychological support at a younger age), social support (from professionals, jockeys, family, and friends), and media campaigns (high-profile disclosures from jockeys). Findings are consistent with barrier and facilitator studies among general and athletic populations. Applied recommendations and future research considerations are presented throughout the manuscript.