An Exploratory Examination of Coach-Athlete Interactions in Adolescent Team Sport

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Buckham, Sara
Decision Making , Coach Behaviour , Youth Sport , Positive Youth Development
The purpose of this study was to explore coach-athlete interactive behaviours. More specifically, it investigated why coaches choose to interact with their athletes, and why coaches interact with their athletes in a particular manner. Head male coaches, of nine female competitive club soccer teams participated in the current study. Each coach was videotaped and audiotaped during two practices. Each video was uploaded to a computer and reviewed. Coaches then participated in a stimulated recall interview. During the interview, coaches were shown a total of 15 video clips that included footage of themselves interacting with an individual athlete, group of athletes, and the entire team. Coaches were asked to expand on the dynamics of these interactions. The results of the study indicate that when coaches interact with athletes, their reasoning is two-fold: first they decide to interact, and second, they decide the way in which they should interact with their athlete(s) based on several factors. Coaches interacted for one of four reasons: (1) connection to a larger picture, (2) teachable moments, (3) standards of behaviour, and (4) organization. The manner in which coaches interacted with their athletes was influenced by four factors: (1) knowledge of the athlete, (2) degree of athlete input, (3) degree of tolerance, and (4) team unit involved. Together, these results helped to construct a model that illustrates how coaches make decisions with regards to coach-athlete interactive behaviour in context. Preliminary findings indicate that coaching philosophy permeates this entire process.
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