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An exploration of reciprocity between female athletes and their coach in elite junior swimming: a shared reality theory perspective
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Volume: 14, Issue: 4, Pages: 545 - 563
Swansea University Author: Camilla Knight
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Based on the proposition that the relationship between a coach and athlete is at its best when both parties contribute to enhancing its quality, the present study sought to investigate if Shared Reality Theory could provide new insights on the topic. Specifically, the purpose of the present study wa...
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Based on the proposition that the relationship between a coach and athlete is at its best when both parties contribute to enhancing its quality, the present study sought to investigate if Shared Reality Theory could provide new insights on the topic. Specifically, the purpose of the present study was to explore: (a) how a shared reality is established, or fails to be established, over the course of the sporting partnership between athletes and their coach; and (b) how the presence of a shared reality (or not) in the coach-athlete relationship is related to the experienced quality of the relationship between athletes and their coach, as recorded over time. Narrative inquiry, embedded within a longitudinal qualitative approach, was adopted. Six female elite junior swimmers and their head coach completing three interviews each over a 9-month period. Data were analysed using narrative thematic analysis, leading to the development of two narratives: A prevention-oriented narrative and a promotion-oriented narrative. Overall, the findings suggests that athletes who experience a shared reality with their coach are more motivated and report a higher sense of psychological well-being. To establish the experience of a shared reality, reciprocal and honest communication motivated by trust in the other is needed. Due to power imbalance, it is deemed important for coaches to be supportive and trustworthy to encourage athletes to communicate with them, so the coach and his/her athletes can work together in a synergistic manner.
Coach-athlete relationship, longitudinal qualitative research, narrative thematic analysis, reciprocity, shared reality theory
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