Coaches’ and athletes’ perceptions regarding their effective interactions and the underlying factors and reasons for effectiveness of these interactions were examined. An in-depth interview process was conducted with three expert judo coaches and six elite athletes. Qualitative data analyses revealed that the interaction style of the coaches was authoritative and was put into operation using the following six strategies: stimulating interpersonal rivalry, provoking athletes verbally, displaying indifference, entering into direct conflict, developing specific team cohesion, and showing preferences. Perceived autonomy, the main interaction style of athletes, was expressed by the following five strategies: showing diplomacy, achieving exceptional performance, soliciting coaches directly, diversifying information sources, and bypassing conventional rules. Results demonstrated the compatibility of particular interactions between coaches’ and athletes’ strategies. Theoretical models from industrial/organizational psychology are used to interpret these results, which differ from conventional findings in the sport psychology literature.
Fabienne d’ Arripe-Longueville, Jean Fournier, and Alice Dubois are with the Laboratoire de Psychologie Appliquée au Sport at the Institut National du Sport et de l’Education Physique, 11 Avenue du Tremblay, 75012, Paris, France.