A phenomenological investigation of the emotional experiences of elite Brazilian coaches
Coaches of elite athletes often need to work under stressful conditions and therefore may experience moments where emotional intensity is running very high. As a result, their physical and mental well-being may be affected. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the emotional side of the coaches in current scientific literature (Potrac, Jones, Purdy, Nelson, & Marshall, 2013). With this in mind, the purpose of this study was to explore coaches’ stressors and other pleasant and unpleasant emotional experiences related to their coaching performance. Specifically, coaches’ awareness of their emotions and situational triggers were examined. Six highly experienced Brazilian coaches were included in this study. Participants were from three different sports: martial arts (n=3), swimming (n=2), tennis (n=1) and their coaching experience ranged from 7 to 29 years (M = 18.6, SD = 9.35) at the time of data collection. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore and analyze coaches’ emotional experience. Content analysis of the participants’ answers exposed four major dimensions: coaching stressors and pleasant/unpleasant emotions, coaching expressions of emotions, coaching suppressions of emotions, and coaching regulation strategies. Findings indicated that the coaches experienced a broad range of unpleasant and pleasant emotions, with the most cited being frustration, sadness, irritation, happiness and pride. All the coaches from this sample shared the belief that they were influential people for their athletes. Hence, expression and suppression mechanisms were highly contextualized varying on the situation and on which athlete the coaches were working with. Coaches frequently suppressed their feelings and used strategies to regulate their emotions in order to not affect their athlete’s performance and consequently, to pursue personally relevant coaching goals. Coaching regulation strategies varied significantly across situations and within leading up to the next competition. Coaches used more engagement strategies before the competition, but on the other hand, after the competition they tended to use more behavioral avoidance strategies. Findings suggest that coaching emotion regulation is focused largely on performance-related factors. The answers gathered in this study offer a new perspective into coaches’ emotions and ideas on how to enhance coaching effectiveness and awareness. Furthermore, the results can be used to develop educational programs to better serve the needs of future coaches and their athletes. ...
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