2016, Volume 12, Issue 1

Understanding the female judoka’s “coach – athlete” relationship: a British perspective

Katrina McDonald1, Maki Tsukada2, Henry Chung1

1Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
2Tokyo Women\'s College of Physical Education, Japan

Author for correspondence: Katrina McDonald; Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom; email: katrina.mcdonald@anglia.ac.uk

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Background and Study Aim: The initial idea for the investigation came from Maki Tsukada’s two year observation of the British system, but also after reflection on the London 2012 Olympics and the “coach – athlete” interaction. The wider impact of the study will mean that coaches will have a greater understanding of how to build and work at their relationship with their athletes and understand what the important dynamics are within. The purpose of this study was the knowledge about the “coach – athlete” relationship, to gain a greater understanding into the relationship between female judo athletes and their coach.

Material and Methods: The participants chosen were the Women’s Great Britain Judo Squad 2013, the athletes (n = 36) and the National coaches (n = 2). The study explores what is felt as important, the dynamics in the relationship and does the athlete’s opinion differ from that of the coach. The athletes participated in a specifically designed questionnaire and the coaches in semi-structured interview.

Results: The findings demonstrate the importance of the relationship and the varying, yet often similar attributes expressed, from both the athletes and coaches.

Conclusions: The significant and fundamental finding was the importance of the “coach – athlete” relationship being recognised by both the athletes and the coaches, with the athletes declaring that they definitely need a coach to develop and improve. In a direct comparison on what is important to the athlete and to the coach in the dynamic of the relationship, the points are very similar.

Key words: athletes motivation, combat sports, qualitative methodology, semi-structured interviews, sports psychology