A qualitative exploration of psychological-skills use in coaches

Richard Thelwell, Neil Weston, I. Greenlees, N. Hutchings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined whether, where, when, and for what purposes coaches use psychological skills. A total of 13 elite-level coaches completed a structured interview using open-ended questions to examine their use of self-talk, imagery, relaxation, and goal-setting skills. Data were analyzed via deductive content analysis and indicated self-talk and imagery to be cited more frequently than relaxation and goal setting throughout the interviews. In addition, some purposes for using each skill were specific to training or competition across each time frame (before, during, and after), whereas there were several purposes consistent across each environment. Although the findings suggest that coaches employ psychological skills, it is imperative that they become aware of what skills they require and what skills they possess if they are to maximize their use across their wide-ranging coaching roles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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