Examining the nature of interpersonal coach- athlete dyads between New Zealand national respresentative female football players and national head coaches
The purpose of this research is to better understand the nature of the coach-athlete relationships within New Zealand Football’s National Female under 17s, Under 20s and the Senior Women’s team (the ‘Football Ferns’). The coach-athlete relationship plays a pivotal role in the coaching process and both parties form close relationships with a high degree of interdependence. Better Sport Psychology has had less to say about the contexts and significant external determinants within the intrapersonal factors are seen to vary; amongst these is the coach. This study adopts a constructivist approach that draws upon a theoretical framework as proposed by Jowett and colleagues (Jowett, 2009; Jowett & Meek, 2000; Jowett & Cockerill, 2003; Jowett & Ntoumanis, 2004) exploring multiple interdependent relationships with coach- athlete dyads. A mixed- method approach will be facilitated in this study to combine both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The participants consisted of a purposive sample of approximately 67 New Zealand national representative female football players and their respective head coaches. Quantitative research was facilitated by implementing a 22 item Coach Athlete Questionnaire (CART-Q) to investigate the nature of the inter-relationship constructs of Closeness (emotions), Commitment (cognitions), Complementarity (behaviours) and Co-orientation (perceptual consensus) in the coach-athlete dyad. Descriptive statistics and magnitude based analysis was undertaken to identify key variables which were followed up in qualitative interviews. Qualitative data was gathered by facilitating a small number of semi structured interviews to examine the nature of critical similarities and differences between CART-Q constructs and the performance context of interest in more depth and using thematic analysis. The findings of this study indicate that there are significant similarities and difference in the perceptions of athlete- coach dyadic relationships and these can be viewed with the premise that the uniqueness of high performance sport in New Zealand shapes the contextual nuance of the athlete- coach relationship.