Leadership is often formalized within sport through captaincy, but researchers have yet to examine the realities of captaincy at the highest level of professional competition. The current study examined the benefits, pressures, and challenges of leadership and captaincy in the National Hockey League (NHL). One captain of an NHL team participated in two in-depth interviews, providing thorough descriptions of his first-hand experiences as an NHL captain, including (a) the techniques he uses to manage his media obligations, (b) his role as a communication bridge between players and coaches, (c) the composition of his leadership group, and (d) examples of interactions that occur during player-only meetings. The transition to captaincy was considered an especially challenging and pressure-filled period. Practical implications for sport psychology consultants are discussed in terms of how they can assist captains of elite competitive teams in setting realistic expectations for their leadership role.
Benefits, Pressures, and Challenges of Leadership and Captaincy in the National Hockey League
Examining High School Teacher-Coaches’ Perspective on Relationship Building With Student-Athletes
Adult leaders in sport can exert considerable influence on young athletes’ development but this influence is mediated by the quality of the relationship that is formed between both parties. The purpose of the current study was to examine high school teacher-coaches’ perspective on relationship building with student-athletes. Teacher-coaches (20 men, 5 women, Mage = 37.0 years, age range: 25–56 years) from Canada took part in semistructured interviews. Results indicated how the participants believed being both a teacher and a coach was advantageous because it allowed them to interact regularly with student-athletes. The teacher-coaches devised a number of strategies (e.g., early-season tournaments, regular team meetings) to nurture relationships and believed their recurrent interactions allowed them to exert a more positive influence on student-athletes than adult leaders in a single role. In terms of outcomes, the teacher-coaches believed their dual role helped increase their job satisfaction, positively influenced their identity, and allowed them to help student-athletes through critical family (e.g., alcoholism, divorce) and personal issues (e.g., suicide). The current study suggests that the dual role of teacher-coach is beneficial to both teacher-coaches and student-athletes. However, future work is needed, paying attention to how teacher-coaches can further nurture quality relationships with student-athletes.
Examining Coaches’ Approaches to Teaching Life Skills and Their Transfer in Youth Sport
Laura Martin and Martin Camiré
Coaches have been shown to play key roles in the life-skills development and transfer process. The purpose of the study was to examine coaches’ approaches to teaching life skills and their transfer in youth sport. A multiple case study design was employed. Each case was composed of one coach and at least two of their athletes involved in youth baseball, rugby, soccer, and sailing. The data collection involved pre- and postseason interviews and in-season journaling with coaches, as well as postseason interviews with athletes. The results indicated that the coaches predominantly used implicit approaches, with just over half identified as using some explicit approaches to teach life skills. The coaches discussed several factors that influenced their decisions to use or not use explicit life-skills teaching approaches. The results have implications for future research and applied efforts aimed at maximizing the developmental gains athletes can derive from their participation in sport.
High School Sport Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Coaches’ Ability to Facilitate Positive Youth Development
Martin Camiré, Tanya Forneris, and Pierre Trudel
Coaching for positive youth development (PYD) in the context of high school sport is a complex process given that many factors influence this environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of high school coaches to facilitate PYD from the perspective of administrators, coaches, and athletes. Although stakeholders in general perceive coaches as having the ability to facilitate PYD, scores for coaches were higher than athletes and administrators and scores for athletes were higher than administrators. Furthermore, coaches who participated in coach education perceived themselves as having a greater ability to facilitate PYD compared to coaches with no coach education.
Examining Program Quality in a National Junior Golf Development Program
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.
Profiling the Canadian High School Teacher-Coach: A National Survey
Martin Camiré, Meredith Rocchi, and Kelsey Kendellen
Each academic year, a large number of teachers voluntarily assume coaching positions in Canadian high schools and thus undertake the dual role of teacher-coach. To date, much of the scholarship on teacher-coaches has been conducted with small samples of participants and as such, the conclusions that can be drawn about the status of the Canadian teacher-coach are limited. The purpose of the current study was to profile the Canadian high school teacher-coach using a national sample. A total of 3062 teacher-coaches (males = 2046, 67%) emanating from all Canadian provinces and territories completed a questionnaire examining personal background and work conditions. Results indicated that aspects of teacher-coaches’ personal background significantly influenced the benefits and challenges they perceived from coaching as well as the recommendations they suggested to improve their coaching experience. The recommendations put forth by the teacher-coaches to improve their work conditions must be earnestly considered by school administrators to ensure the long-term viability of the Canadian high school sport system, which is largely sustained by dedicated volunteers.
Coaching and Transferring Life Skills: Philosophies and Strategies Used by Model High School Coaches
Martin Camiré, Pierre Trudel, and Tanya Forneris
Whether life skills are developed through sport greatly depends on how coaches create suitable environments that promote the development of youth (Gould & Carson, 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine, using Gould and Carson’s (2008) model of coaching life skills, the philosophies and strategies used by model high school coaches to coach life skills and how to transfer these life skills to other areas of life. Interviews were conducted with both coaches and their student-athletes. Results indicated that coaches understood their student-athletes preexisting make up and had philosophies based on promoting the development of student-athletes. Results also demonstrated that coaches had strategies designed to coach life skills and educate student-athletes about the transferability of the skills they learned in sport. Although variations were reported, coaches and student-athletes generally believed that student-athletes can transfer the skills learned in sport to other areas of life. These results are discussed using Gould and Carson’s model and the youth development literature.
A Case Study of a High School Sport Program Designed to Teach Athletes Life Skills and Values
Martin Camiré, Pierre Trudel, and Dany Bernard
A case study of a high school ice hockey program designed to teach players life skills and values was conducted to understand, from the perspective of administrators, coaches, parents, and players, the strengths and challenges of the program. Results indicated that the program’s strengths lied in its comprehensive approach to teaching life skills and values in addition to coaches’ ability to foster relationship with players. However, program members also faced many challenges related to traveling, a lack of resources, and conflicting goals. Results are discussed using the Petitpas et al. (2005) framework and the youth development through sport literature.
Designing Quality Sport Environments to Support Newcomer Youth and Their Families: The Case of One Program Founder/Leader
Sara Kramers, Camille Sabourin, Laura Martin, and Martin Camiré
Appropriately structured youth sport programs have been shown to promote participants’ physical activity and well-being. When compared to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, newcomers to Canada have lessened access to sport programs due to a multitude of interrelated factors. In the present case study, the authors explored the experiences of one founder/leader who created a sport program to support Canadian newcomer youth and their families. Two semistructured interviews were conducted with the program founder/leader to examine her experiences in intentionally promoting the physical activity and well-being of newcomer youth. Transcripts and program documents were subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis. Findings portray the complex set of factors that the program founder/leader considered to address the realities and needs of newcomer youth and their families. The practical considerations and reflections focus on the importance of designing culturally sensitive, inclusive, and quality programs with newcomers.
“My Life Sucks Right Now”: Student-Athletes’ Pandemic-Related Experiences With Screen Time and Mental Health
Martin Camiré, Camille Sabourin, Eden Gladstone Martin, Laura Martin, and Nicolas Lowe
The COVID-19 pandemic, and associated stay-at-home orders, instigated far-reaching disturbances in the lives of student-athletes, which included school closures and sport cancellations. The purpose of the study was to examine first-hand student-athletes’ pandemic-related experiences with screen time and mental health. A total of 22 Canadian high school student-athletes were individually interviewed in 2021. Interviews occurred online via videoconferencing and were subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis, which led to the creation of three themes: (a) pandemic life is a major grind, (b) screen time during COVID times: I feel guilty, but what else can I do? and (c) mental health during COVID times: mostly pain, but there is a silver lining. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for research and practice as it pertains to formulating endemic initiatives best supporting the many student-athletes confronting the psychosocial aftereffects of having lived through a global pandemic.