In the last five years, mental health and wellbeing has attracted greater public, government, and research interest. In sport, athlete mental health and wellbeing has been a focus across all competition levels. The high performance coach responsible for athlete performance, health and wellbeing has not attracted the same attention despite working in an intense high-pressure work environment. Using the Areas of Work Life Model as a theoretical framework, this Insights paper discusses the existing coaching literature to ascertain both contributing factors for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, and negative influences that increase stress and potential burnout. The six dimensions (workload; control; reward; fairness; community; and values) resonate throughout the coaching literature, but to-date, no study has applied the model to this group. Analysis of the extracted articles indicated that high performance coaches should become more self-aware around how to cope with stress and stressful situations, while sports organisations should invest in both the individual coach and the organisational culture to enhance work engagement. Coaches are performers and should prepare themselves to ensure they can perform at their peak; and managing their own mental health and wellbeing is an important component to this.
Fraser Carson, Julia Walsh, Luana C. Main and Peter Kremer
Jacqueline Tran, Anthony J. Rice, Luana C. Main and Paul B. Gastin
To investigate changes in physiology, performance, and training practices of elite Australian rowers over 6 mo.
Twenty-one elite rowers (14 male, 7 female) were monitored throughout 2 phases: phase 1 (specific preparation) and phase 2 (domestic competition). Incremental tests and rowing-ergometer time trials over 100, 500, 2000, and 6000 m were conducted at the start of the season, midseason, and late season. Weekly external (frequency, duration, distance rowed) and internal (T2minute method) loads are reported.
Heavyweight male rowers achieved moderate improvements in VO2max and power at VO2max. Most other changes in physiology and performance were small or unclear. External loads decreased from phase 1 to phase 2 (duration 19.3 to 18.0 h/wk, distance rowed 140 to 125 km/wk, respectively). Conversely, internal loads increased (phase 1 = 19.0 T2hours, phase 2 = 20.3 T2hours). Low-intensity training predominated (~80% of training hours at T1 and T2), and high-intensity training was greater in phase 2. Training was rowing-focused (68% of training duration), although 32% of training time was spent in nonspecific modes. The distribution of specificity was not different between phases.
Physiology and performance results were stable over the 6-mo period. Training-load patterns differed depending on the measure, highlighting the importance of monitoring both external and internal loads. The distribution of intensity was somewhat polarized, and substantial volumes of nonspecific training were undertaken. Experimental studies should investigate the effects of different distributions of intensity and specificity on rowing performance.
Anna E. Saw, Michael Kellmann, Luana C. Main and Paul B. Gastin
Athlete self-report measures (ASRM) have the potential to provide valuable insight into the training response; however, there is a disconnect between research and practice that needs to be addressed; namely, the measure or methods used in research are not always reflective of practice, or data primarily obtained from practice lacks empirical quality. This commentary reviews existing empirical measures and the psychometric properties required to be considered acceptable for research and practice. This information will allow discerning readers to make a judgment on the quality of ASRM data being reported in research papers. Fastidious practitioners and researchers are also provided with explicit guidelines for selecting and implementing an ASRM and reporting these details in research papers.