Reciprocal relations between coach and athletes in female elite junior soccer: A shared reality perspective

Abstract

ABSTRACT Purpose: The context in talent development is complex where a collaboration between coach and athlete is necessary for optimal performance development. But it is cramped, where only a few athletes are identified as talents. Hence, it is important to have quality in the coach-athlete relationship, thereby making it more likely to have a shared reality about future development. Shared Reality Theory (SRT) contains: the motivation to connect with others and to create something meaningful. Indeed, SRT holds significant potential for studying the reciprocity in the coach-athlete relationship (Echterhoff & Higgins, 2018). Therefore, the purpose of the study is to investigate the reciprocity in the coach-athlete relationship and whether both parties share the same understanding of talent development. Design: Four female elite junior soccer players (Mage = 15.6 years) and their head coach were interviewed using a semi-structured interview (Mtime = 29.9 minutes). The players trained five days every week (Mduration = 1.5 hours) and played normally one match each week. Two out of four athletes play on the junior national team. Results: The coach is concerned with the players' individual needs, clear feedback, and building confidence. Verbal communication appeared to be an important finding among the coach's attitudes, values, and goals in meeting with talent development. The athletes respond somewhat differently where findings indicate that the process of how to work toward their goals are unclear. Conclusion: According to SRT, there is a distance between what the various parties have of understanding in the process of developing future talents.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Bård Erlend Solstad, Camilla J. Knight, & Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre