Effective behaviours of strength and conditioning coaches as perceived by athletes

Chistoph Szedlak, Matthew J. Smith, Melissa C. Day, Iain A. Greenlees

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to identify effective behaviours and characteristics of strength and conditioning coaches as perceived by elite athletes. Eight elite international level university athletes (Male = 6; Female = 2) with an average age of 20.4 years (SD= 1.3) and an average of 7 years' experience in their sport (SD= 2.4) were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Three general dimensions were identified: behaviours that enhance the relationship between the athlete and their coach; coaches' actions; and coaches' values. The findings confirm previous research that areas such as instruction, technical knowledge and feedback are essential in delivering effective strength and conditioning coaching. However, the results further highlight the important role of higher order characteristics such as trust, respect, role modelling, authenticity, motivation and inspiration. The findings suggest that these higher order characteristics augment the default instructional coaching style as these behaviours enhance the strength and conditioning coaches' effectiveness in developing the athlete. The results further aim to recommend competencies of strength and conditioning coaches by encouraging self-reflection and therefore optimising coaches' development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-984
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science and Coaching
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coach behaviours
  • Coach-athlete relationship
  • Leadership
  • Values
  • Varsity sport


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