Peer athlete mentoring from the mentor's perspective: A retrospective case study


To date, researchers have focused solely on protégés' perceptions of peer athlete mentoring relationships (e.g., Hoffmann & Loughead, 2016a, 2016b), while overlooking the perspectives of athletes serving as experienced peer mentors. Using a retrospective qualitative case study design, we examined the experiences of one former exemplary peer athlete mentor (i.e., Nick [pseudonym]). We studied Nick because three current Canadian National team athletes independently named him as their peer athlete mentor in a previous study (i.e., Hoffmann, Loughead, & Bloom, 2017). Following the "three-interview series" approach (Seidman, 2006), data from three interviews (totaling nearly 5 hours) with Nick were analyzed using thematic narrative analysis. Nick indicated that mentoring was crucial in helping athletes rise to prominence in their sport. He noted that he was motivated to support his protégés for their benefit but also because of the mutually-enhancing aspects of peer mentorship—the latter of which implied he was involved in relational mentoring relationships with his protégés (Ragins, 2016). Nick further described that he had an unwavering belief in his protégés and a deep commitment to them. Lastly, Nick shared his views on the complexity of simultaneously identifying as an elite athlete and a peer mentor. The findings provide new insights into why, and to some extent how, athletes may serve as peer mentors. Given our methodological approach, Nick's perspectives are not necessarily generalizable to others who assume the role of peer athlete mentor. However, the results do suggest that peer mentoring relationships between athletes may be reciprocally beneficial.