Coaching Stressors in a Division II Historically Black University

Jamie Robbins, Winston-Salem State University, USA
Jenelle Gilbert, California State University, Fresno, USA
Alexandra Clifton, California State University, Fresno, USA

Theme: Anxiety, stress, and emotions

Program ID: LEC-13A

Presentation: October 5, 2013 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Room: Melrose


Coaching has been identified as a stressful occupation due to coaches’ numerous responsibilities, including guiding athletes’ physical, technical, mental, tactical, personal, and social growth (Fletcher & Scott, 2010; Fry, 2007). These findings, however, were gleaned from Division I (DI) programs and none assessed coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Given the numerous differences between DI and DII programs, it is speculated that coaching stressors may be contextual. More specifically, DII and HBCU coaches may have limited travel/recruiting budgets and fewer advantages, such as academic tutoring and full-time assistant coaches. Further, chronic stress contributes to burnout and can lead to negative experiences for both the coaches and the athletes in their charge (Goodger, Gorely, Lavallee, & Harwood, 2007). Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate stressors of DII head coaches who work at an HBCU. Seven head coaches participated in semi-structured interviews following the guide developed by Olusoga, Butt, Hays, and Maynard (2009). The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim resulting in 99 single-spaced pages. Meaning units were coded independently, tagged and grouped into like themes and categories (Côté, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993). Peer debriefing and review were used throughout the analysis process to validate the emerging findings. Three main categories (i.e., Coaching Style, Personality, and Stressors), and 17 sub-categories resulted. Further analysis exposed coaches as a) athlete-centered (with stressors mainly stemming from student-athlete issues such as lack of discipline or not playing up to coach expectations), b) coach-centered (with stressors focused on themselves and their leadership), and/or c) program-centered (with stressors resulting mostly from administration and budget issues). The main categories, sub-categories, and raw themes will be discussed. Possible explanations for these findings will be suggested, along with implications for mental training practitioners working with collegiate DII coaches.

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