“Nothing was lost sailing-wise and lots is gained on a personal level”: Practitioners’ behaviors and athletes’ perceptions of working in online environments

Christoph Szedlak, Matthew J. Smith, Bettina Callary

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of expert practitioners and their British sailing team athletes concerning effective, athlete-centered online delivery during a period of COVID-19 restrictions between March and June 2020. In particular, we explored how psychosocial behaviors of practitioners and inherent attributes of online environments influenced the overall wellbeing of the athletes. Methods Using appreciative inquiry (AI), which adopts a social constructionist viewpoint, we interviewed nine expert practitioners, which included technical and strength and conditioning coaches, physiologists, and physiotherapists, and 18 elite athletes. Results Our results highlight that when delivering sessions online, practitioners expressed psychosocial behaviors that helped build effective relationships, with expression of care and empathy developing closeness, active participation exhibiting commitment, and psychosocial behaviors such as promoting a holistic mindset supporting an athlete-centered approach. Key to these positive outcomes was the connection that practitioners developed with their athletes in these online sessions. Our results suggest that the online environment provide opportunities for practitioners and athletes to reveal part of their personalities and identities that go beyond focusing on performance due to the change in the contextual setting (i.e., restrictions called for a ‘people first’ approach). Conclusion The findings offer a novel contribution to the literature in highlighting how online environments provide the opportunity to deliver athlete-centered sessions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume63
Issue numberNovember
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Online consultation
  • Psychosocial behaviors
  • Athlete-centered delivery
  • Appreciative inquiry

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