Sports performers' perspectives on facilitating thriving in professional rugby contexts

Daniel Brown, Rachel Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives
The desire and apparent ‘need’ to succeed can drive a win-at-all-costs mentality in individuals who operate in sport. This approach has given rise to environments where the pursuit of high-level performance has been at the expense of athlete welfare. To redress this balance and to inform the creation and maintenance of sporting environments that promote both high performance and athlete well-being, we sought to (i) provide an exploration of the environmental factors that may promote player thriving in professional sport, and (ii) offer suggestions for how key stakeholders can support these mechanisms.
Design
A qualitative research methodology underpinned by ontological relativism and epistemological constructionism.
Method
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 players from an English professional rugby union club.
Results
Thematic analysis generated thirteen factors that players perceived to promote thriving. These factors were underpinned by two general ideas: (i) Establishing Bonds between Teammates and (ii) Establishing a Connection to the Coaching Staff and the Club.
Conclusions
The findings provide the first insight into the type of environment professional rugby players believe can facilitate their development and sporting success. The factors generated in the analysis highlight the players’ desire to operate within an integrated, inclusive, and trusting environment, and a variety of suggestions are forwarded for how this can be achieved. To promote thriving in a professional sport that requires emotion and passion to succeed on the pitch, it appears that rugby union organizations must appeal to the sensitivities and welfare of players off it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 81
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume40
Early online date29 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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Football
Sports
Athletes
Qualitative Research
Emotions
Research Design
Maintenance
Interviews
Costs and Cost Analysis

Cite this

Sports performers' perspectives on facilitating thriving in professional rugby contexts. / Brown, Daniel; Arnold, Rachel.

In: Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol. 40, 01.01.2019, p. 71 - 81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - ObjectivesThe desire and apparent ‘need’ to succeed can drive a win-at-all-costs mentality in individuals who operate in sport. This approach has given rise to environments where the pursuit of high-level performance has been at the expense of athlete welfare. To redress this balance and to inform the creation and maintenance of sporting environments that promote both high performance and athlete well-being, we sought to (i) provide an exploration of the environmental factors that may promote player thriving in professional sport, and (ii) offer suggestions for how key stakeholders can support these mechanisms.DesignA qualitative research methodology underpinned by ontological relativism and epistemological constructionism.MethodSemi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 players from an English professional rugby union club.ResultsThematic analysis generated thirteen factors that players perceived to promote thriving. These factors were underpinned by two general ideas: (i) Establishing Bonds between Teammates and (ii) Establishing a Connection to the Coaching Staff and the Club.ConclusionsThe findings provide the first insight into the type of environment professional rugby players believe can facilitate their development and sporting success. The factors generated in the analysis highlight the players’ desire to operate within an integrated, inclusive, and trusting environment, and a variety of suggestions are forwarded for how this can be achieved. To promote thriving in a professional sport that requires emotion and passion to succeed on the pitch, it appears that rugby union organizations must appeal to the sensitivities and welfare of players off it.

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