This study investigated how the experiences of two elite coaches contributed to and shaped their stories of burnout and withdrawal from high performance coaching. The coaches whose narratives we explore were both middle-aged head coaches, one in a major team sport at the highest club level, and one in an individual Olympic sport at international level. Through a thematic narrative analysis, based on in-depth interviews, the stories of the two coaches are presented in four distinct sections: antecedents, experiences of coaching with burnout symptoms, withdrawal from sport, and the process of recovery and personal growth. These narratives have implications for high performance coaching, such as the importance of role clarity, work-home inference, counseling, mentoring, and social support as means to facilitate recovery, and the need for additional research with coaches who have left sport, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the complete burnout-recovery process.
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Peter Olusoga and Göran Kenttä
Peter Olusoga, Marte Bentzen, and Goran Kentta
Coaches’ experiences of burnout and stress have been popular topics for research within sport psychology, particularly over the last decade. The purpose of this scoping review was to provide an up-to-date and critical review of the coaching burnout literature, consolidate research findings, assess current methodological and conceptual trends, and identify avenues for research in this area. Five electronic databases were used to conduct the literature search up to September 30th, 2017 (PsycINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, ORIA, Google Scholar). Initially, 65 papers, reviews, and books chapter were identified, but through an iterative process, 45 peer-reviewed, published articles satisfied the inclusion criteria, and the data from these studies was charted. Findings indicated that coach burnout literature is explored from a number of different theoretical perspectives, and shortcomings were identified regarding constructs and concepts used, and research quality. Based on consolidated findings, key challenges are identified, and recommendations for future research are suggested. Recommendations include the use of designs that fully capture the enduring nature of the burnout experience, further consideration being given to the measurement of coach burnout, and further research exploring the clinical treatment and prevention of burnout in coaching contexts.
Göran Kenttä, Marte Bentzen, Kristen Dieffenbach, and Peter Olusoga
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.
Liam A. Slack, Ian W. Maynard, Joanne Butt, and Peter Olusoga
The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.
Martin J. Turner, Gillian Aspin, Faye F. Didymus, Rory Mack, Peter Olusoga, Andrew G. Wood, and Richard Bennett
Practitioners in sport and exercise psychology tasked with service provision in any environment can decide which framework(s) they draw on to inform their applied work. However, the similarities and differences between psychotherapeutic approaches are underrepresented in current literature. Therefore, this paper brings together practitioners from 4 dominant psychotherapeutic approaches to address a specific hypothetical case. Four different cognitive-behavioral approaches are outlined: rational emotive behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, schema therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Each practitioner outlines the particular approach and proceeds to address the case by covering assessment, intervention, and evaluation strategies that are specific to it. Similarities and differences across the approaches are discussed, and implications for practice are put forth. Finally, two other practitioners introduce motivational interviewing as an additional framework to foster the working alliance.