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Thriving, Depleted, and At-Risk Canadian Coaches: Profiles of Psychological Functioning Linked to Self-Regulation and Stress

Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre

The purposes of this study were to (a) identify profiles of psychological functioning based on burnout and well-being indices within a sample of 250 Canadian developmental and high performance sport coaches, and (b) investigate whether coaches in these profiles differed in their capacity to self-regulate and their perceptions of stress. Using a two-stage cluster analysis, three profiles of psychological functioning were identified: (a) thriving (n = 135, characterized by relatively low burnout and relatively high well-being), (b) depleted (n = 36, characterized by relatively high burnout and relatively low well-being), and (c) at-risk (n = 79, characterized by relatively high burnout and moderate well-being). Follow-up analyses revealed that coaches within the thriving profile reported significantly higher self-regulation capacity and lower perceived stress than coaches in the at-risk and depleted profiles, while depleted coaches reported significantly higher perceived stress than at-risk coaches. Moreover, longer coaching hours and remuneration for one’s coaching also differentiated depleted from thriving coaches. Findings are discussed in light of the dual-continua model of mental health and practical recommendations are put forth to help coaches strengthen their capacity to self-regulate and manage their perceptions of stress to optimize psychological functioning.

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Can Learning Self-Regulatory Competencies Through a Guided Intervention Improve Coaches’ Burnout Symptoms and Well-Being?

Kylie McNeill, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre

While coaches are considered at risk of experiencing burnout, there is an absence of intervention studies addressing this syndrome. The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a self-regulation intervention with five Canadian developmental (n = 2) and elite (n = 3) sport coaches (three men, two women) experiencing moderate to high levels of burnout and examine the perceived impact of this intervention on their self-regulation capacity and experiences of burnout and well-being. The content analysis of the coaches’ outtake interviews and five bi-weekly journals revealed that all five of them learned to self-regulate more effectively by developing various competencies (e.g., strategic planning for their well-being, self-monitoring) and strategies (e.g., task delegation, facilitative self-talk). Four of the coaches also perceived improvements in their symptoms of burnout and well-being. Sport psychology interventions individualized for coaches are a promising means for helping them manage burnout and enhance their overall functioning.

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Motives for and Experiences of Expatriation to Coach

Evelyne Felber Charbonneau, Martin Camiré, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre

Coaching is a global profession and coaches play a central role in enhancing the performance of millions of athletes worldwide. In the 21st century, the global mobility of coaches has increased, with many coaches taking advantage of opportunities to coach abroad. Norway leads the all-time Winter Olympics medals table (i.e., 368 medals), and with most of these medals coming from skiing disciplines, Norway represents a skiing hotbed that attracts ski coaches from other parts of the world. The purpose of the study was to examine ski coaches’ motives for and experiences of expatriation to coach in Norway. Five North American alpine ski coaches (four males and one female) were individually interviewed (M = 77 min, SD = 24.94), with the data examined using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Motives for expatriation included having a passion for skiing, challenging oneself, experiencing a new sport culture, and maintaining relationships. Upon arriving in Norway, coaches mentioned experiencing challenges with the Norwegian sport system, language, pressure from parents and the media, and being far from friends and family. Once acclimated, coaches discussed the benefits of expatriation that included the Norwegian work ethic, family-centric lifestyle, and popularity of skiing.

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A Prospective Study of the Influence of Perceived Coaching Style on Burnout Propensity in High Level Young Athletes: Using a Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Sandrine Isoard-Gautheur, Emma Guillet-Descas, and Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre

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The Temporal Ordering of Motivation and Self-Control: A Cross-Lagged Effects Model

Gro Jordalen, Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Andreas Ivarsson

Mechanisms leading to cognitive energy depletion in performance settings such as high-level sports highlight likely associations between individuals’ self-control capacity and their motivation. Investigating the temporal ordering of these concepts combining self-determination theory and psychosocial self-control theories, the authors hypothesized that athletes’ self-control capacity would be more influenced by their motivation than vice versa and that autonomous and controlled types of motivation would predict self-control capacity positively and negatively, respectively. High-level winter-sport athletes from Norwegian elite sport colleges (N = 321; 16–20 years) consented to participate. Using Bayesian structural equation modeling and 3-wave analyses, findings revealed credible self-control → motivation → self-control cross-lagged effects. Athletes’ trait self-control especially initiated the temporal ordering of the least controlled types of motivation (i.e., intrinsic, integrated, and amotivation). Findings indicate that practicing self-control competencies and promoting athletes’ autonomous types of motivation are important components in the development toward the elite level. These components will help athletes maintain their persistent goal striving by increasing the value and inherent satisfaction of the development process, avoiding the debilitating effects of self-control depletion and exhaustion.

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Influence of Variability in Motivation and Affect on Elite Athlete Burnout Susceptibility

Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre, Darren C. Treasure, and Glyn C. Roberts

Forty-four elite swimmers (F = 19, M = 25) participated in the present study designed to examine shifts along the self-determined motivation continuum, as well as swings in negative and positive affect, to predict susceptibility to athlete burnout. Each week the participants were asked to record positive and negative affect states. Swimmers’ affect swing was calculated using mean intraindividual standard deviation scores as an indicator of intraindividual variance. Every third week the athletes’ level of self-determined motivation to participate in swimming was compiled on a self-determination index. A motivational trend slope for the whole season was computed for each swimmer. Results indicated that shifts in the quality of motivation were reliable predictors of all burnout dimensions. In addition, results of the regression analyses showed that swimmers experiencing increased variability in negative affect were more at risk for burnout. These two psychological constructs reliably predicted burnout potential in elite swimmers.