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Player and coach perspectives of the psychological qualities relevant to elite pathway rugby

WOODCOCK, C., HOLLAND, M. J. G., DUDA, J. L. and CUMMING, J. (2009) Player and coach perspectives of the psychological qualities relevant to elite pathway rugby. In: 2008 BASES Annual Conference, Brunel University.

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Abstract or description

Sport psychology researchers have long been interested in identifying the psychological qualities of peak athletic performance (see Krane & Williams, 2006: In Applied sport psychology: Personal growth for peak performance, edited by J. M. Williams. New York: MacGraw-Hill). Several recall studies, involving Olympic and World Champions, have provided insights into how athletes develop these qualities (e.g. Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2002: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 154–171). However, there has been limited research investigating the psychological qualities perceived essential during specific stages of athlete development. Furthermore, the existent studies exploring ideal psychological qualities have tended to adopt the perspective of the athlete, while the perceptions of significant others (e.g. the coach) involved in athlete development, have often been overlooked. The importance of obtaining multiple perspectives is reinforced by investigations that have reported inconsistencies between coaches’ and athletes’ perceptions (e.g. Vargas-Tonsing, Myers, & Feltz, 2004: The Sport Psychologist, 18, 397–414). Therefore, the aim of the present research was to examine the perceived ideal psychological qualities deemed relevant to elite pathway under-16 rugby, and compare perceptions shared by under-16 players with the views expressed by their coaches and players who recently progressed from this level (under-18). Eight focus group interviews were conducted with under-16 (n¼28) and under-18 (n¼10) male rugby players, and coaches (n¼7). Each group consisted of 4–10 participants and lasted between 45 and 60 minutes. 11 first-order and 35 second-order themes emerged from content analysis of the data. Under-16 players generated the broadest set of qualities, and emphasised the importance of determination, self-confidence, and effective regulation of performance state. Under-18 players and coaches were more focused in their consideration of the desired qualities in under-16 district level rugby players. For under-18 players, themes of note included successful adaptation to novel environments and taking responsibility for oneself. Themes perceived critical by coaches included self-aware learning through honest selfappraisal and successful application of coach information into physical practice and performance. Altogether, the themes support previous research into the psychological characteristics of elite competitors, and contribute to our understanding of their manifestation in young talented team sport athletes. Moreover, this study extends previous research through the inclusion of the coaches’ perspectives of the ideal psychological qualities in their athletes. The information gathered should provide insight into the development of mental skills training programmes for this population.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: on page S42
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coach Psychological qualities Rugby
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Health Sciences > Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Event Title: 2008 BASES Annual Conference
Event Location: Brunel University
Depositing User: Charlotte LUMSDEN-COOK
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2013 13:37
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:36

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