A Survey of U.S. Olympic Coaches: Variables Perceived to Have Influenced Athlete Performances and Coach Effectiveness

in The Sport Psychologist
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As part of a larger project to examine variables perceived to influence performance in Olympic competition, this manuscript was designed to (a) report coaches’ perceptions of variables influencing Olympic athlete performance, (b) triangulate findings from surveys and interviews with Olympic athletes, and (c) examine coaches’ perceptions of variables influencing Olympic coaching effectiveness. Surveys were completed by 46 U.S. Atlanta Olympic coaches (46% of all U.S. coaches) and 19 U.S. Nagano coaches (45% of all U.S. coaches). A large number of variables were perceived by coaches to have influenced athlete performances and included having plans for dealing with distractions, strong team chemistry and cohesion, loud and enthusiastic crowd support, high levels of athlete confidence, and fair and effective team selection. Variables perceived to have influenced coaching effectiveness included markedly changed coaching behaviors, the inability to establish trust with athletes, the inability to effectively handle crisis situations, staying cool under pressure, and making fair but decisive decisions.

Daniel Gould is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina Greensboro, NC 27402-6169 <drgould@uncg.edu>. Diane Guinan is with Full Spectrum Consulting in West Lafayette, IN. Christy Greenleaf is with the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas, Denton. Yongchul Chung is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

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