Examining the Influence of Remote Coaching on Psychosocial Skill Development in Elite Athletes

Christoph Szedlak, Matthew J. Smith, Bettina Callary

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Remote coaching methods have the potential to encourage a learner-centred coaching approach, which not only develops sporting skills but also psychosocial skills (Ciampolini et al., 2019). Focusing on psychosocial skill development is even more pertinent during a period where athletes have limited opportunities to practice and perform their sport, which could have a negative influence the athletes’ mental well-being (Ravizza, 2002). Thus, the aim of this study was to examine how elite coaches perceive their actions when remote coaching, and how their athletes perceive that remote coaching can positively influence psychosocial skill development during a period of reduced social support and movement restrictions, as experienced through the United Kingdom COVID-19 lockdown between March and June 2020. In collaboration with British Sailing Team, we interviewed 9 coaches and 18 athletes and data were analysed using a thematic analysis. Our results highlight that inherent attributes of remote coaching (i.e., limited emotional awareness) impact on the athletes by encouraging autonomy and promoting reflection. Furthermore, remote coaching enhances connectivity and provides non-technical support, which stimulates the development of athletes’ psychosocial skills including self-worth, coping with stress, motivation, confidence, and strengthens the relationship by developing closeness. Our findings provide a novel contribution to literature as they highlight that remote coaching is an effective strategy to encourage the holistic development of the athlete. In addition, our findings suggest that remote coaching approaches provide a useful and innovative way to support and structure learning when in-person delivery is restricted (Stoszkowski et al., 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S36
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


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