Exploring the role of the high-performance head coach in creating a successful culture in Canadian, norwegian, and swedish parasport teams


Compared to the vast coaching literature conducted in able-bodied sport on the development of successful teams, literature on parasport coaching remains in its infancy. This study explored the role of the high-performance parasport coach in creating a successful team culture from three countries with a distinguished parasport history. Specifically, individuals from one summer Paralympic team from Norway, Sweden, and Canada participated in this study. Data were gathered using observations, focus groups, and individual interviews with various members of each team, including head coaches, assistant coaches, athletes, high-performance directors, mental and physical coaches, and coach mentors. Data were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a reflexive thematic analysis. Coaches strove to create a values-based environment that emphasized openness, honesty, innovation, and creativity, yet acknowledged challenges in achieving this goal (e.g., managing difficult athletes, lack of intrapersonal team trust). Coaches managed and facilitated relationships with their support staff to assist in carrying out the coaches' vision and values. Athletes and members of the support staff highlighted the importance for coaches to act in congruence with the values set for the team, indicating that a lack of congruence often led to damaged relationships and group dynamics on the team. In sum, this study provides a rich understanding of high-performance parasport team dynamics by incorporating multiple perspectives and methods of data collection from three countries around the world.