The role of tennis coaches in regulating their players' emotional states : an exploratory study
During the past few decades, the ability to perceive, understand, and regulate emotions efficiently has received widespread attention in sport settings (Hanin, 2000; 2004; Robazza, Pellizzari, & Hanin, 2004). Moreover, this line of research has mainly focused on the intrapersonal aspect of emotions. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of tennis coaches in regulating their players’ emotional states. The present study explored (a) tennis players’ emotional states related to their best and worst performances, (b) coaches’ accuracy in assessing players’ emotional experiences within these performances, and (c) self- and interpersonal emotional regulation strategies of tennis coaches and players. The sample consisted of five tennis players living in Switzerland and their respective coaches. Players were all performing on a national and four out of five on an international level. Data about players’ emotional states for best and worst performance were collected using the psychobiosocial state (PBS-S) scale. Additional qualitative information related to feeling states, and emotional (self- and interpersonal-) regulation was gathered through semi-structured interviews. Individual profiles were developed and differences in intensity and content overlap for four coach-player dyads were calculated. Results revealed relative high accuracy in coaches to assess the psychobiosocial states of their players in best and worst performances. Differences in intensity, assessed on the modified CR -10 scale, ranged from 0 to 8 across the state modalities with a higher accuracy found for functionally helpful descriptors. Results from the content overlap analysis between dyads revealed scores ranging from .35 to .59 (in best performances), and from .28 and .47 (worst performances). Higher accuracy was shown for functionally helpful descriptors. Interview data were analysed following the guidelines of interpretative phenomenological analysis (Auerbach & Silverston, 2003; Smith, Jarman & Osborn, 1999). Several behavioral and verbal cues to recognize emotional experiences were identified and specific emotion regulation strategies were reported including reappraisal, cognitive deployment, positive reinforcement, feedback, or relaxation techniques. Interestingly, both coaches and players emphasized the importance of coaches’ characteristic traits such as calmness and empathy. The findings of the present study showed that coaches were able to assess accurately their players’ emotional states and to provide efficient support in regulating players’ emotional states. The study supported the importance of an interpersonal approach in emotion regulation. Future research exploring the association between athletes’ psychobiosocial states and coaches’ emotional intelligence as well as emotional expression is warranted. ...
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