The role of emotional abilities in elite sports coaching

HODGSON, Laura (2018). The role of emotional abilities in elite sports coaching. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The overall purpose of this thesis was to explore the psychological attributes perceived to underpin coaching effectiveness at the elite level and identify factors related to attribute development. As a result, this thesis provided an in-depth study into the emotional abilities of elite sports coaches. A secondary purpose was to use the information gained from elite coaches to help bridge the gap between theory and practice by designing an Emotional Ability Development (EAD) programme, to help support the development of coaches. The aim of study one was to explore in-depth the psychological attributes perceived to underpin coaching effectiveness at the elite level and factors related to attribute development. Specifically, 12 elite coaches participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis of the data (Braun & Clarke, 2006) identified nine psychological attributes (e.g., confidence, focus, resilience, attitude, emotional awareness, and emotional management) perceived to underpin coaching effectiveness. In addition, three factors perceived to influence attribute development were identified (i.e., education, experience, and conscious self-improvement). Findings indicated that several attributes perceived to be essential to coaching effectiveness related to the emotional nature of coaching, highlighting the importance of coaches’ abilities to identify, understand and manage emotions in both themselves and others. Subsequently, this finding enabled a further study to examine coaches’ emotional abilities in more detail to gain a comprehensive understanding into how coaches use their emotional abilities in relation to coaching effectiveness. Specifically, study two explored elite coaches perceptions by interviewing the same 12 coaches from study one. Findings presented three higher-order themes related to coaches’ emotional abilities (i.e., emotional awareness, emotional understanding, and emotional management), positive outcomes (i.e., psychological well-being, coach-athlete relationships, and influence on athlete) and moderating factors (i.e., coaches’ knowledge, coaches’ beliefs, and past experiences). Taken together, the findings from studies one and two highlighted the need for the design and implementation of an EAD intervention for sports coaches. Therefore, the next investigation comprised a two-phased EAD intervention with sports coaches (i.e., Pilot Study and Study Three). Phase one involved a pilot study which aimed to investigate the perceived value and practicality of delivering an EAD programme to sports coaches. The pilot study was conducted with two male pathway level coaches from two sports (i.e., swimming and diving). The measures employed assessed coaches’ self-reported effectiveness of the programme. Findings indicated that the intervention was well received and perceived to lead to improvements in coaches own coaching practice. Building on these findings, phase two involved the delivery and evaluation of a full-scale EAD programme whereby a pretest, post-test, with retention follow-up design was employed with 6 pathway level coaches (4 male, 2 female) from various sports (i.e., archery, triathlon, and netball). Measures employed were informed by the findings of studies one and two, and, the pilot study, and therefore assessed coaches’ emotional intelligence, coach efficacy, coach-athlete relationship and athletes’ perceptions of coach behaviours. Findings indicated positive trends on all of the observed variables however significant difference was only observed on a small number of the variables. The perceived effectiveness of the programme was highlighted by the coaches involved. Specifically, coaches reported that the programme was relevant to their coaching, provided new considerations, increased coaches’ use of emotional skills, and, coaches reported positive changes in their coaching practice as a result of the programme. In conclusion, this thesis has enabled a detailed understanding into the role of coaches’ emotional abilities in perceived coaching effectiveness, how coaches’ emotional abilities can be developed, and the potential benefits it can have in facilitating coach development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Butt, Joanne [0000-0002-0477-894X]
Thesis advisor - Maynard, Ian [0000-0003-2010-5072]
Additional Information: Director of Studies: Professor Joanne Butt Supervisor: Professor Ian Maynard "No PQ harvesting"
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Justine Gavin
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2019 12:51
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04

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