Conflict between a captain and star player: an ethnodrama of interpersonal conflict experiences

Matthew Smith, Christopher Robert David Wagstaff, Christoph Szedlak

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Within sports psychology, researchers have explored intrapersonal conflict, and how individuals perceived to be “problematic players” can create conflict in a team environment. We present an exploration of the psychosocial processes of a case of interpersonal conflict that occurred in an elite sports environment. The case centers on Warwickshire cricket club’s successful, treble-winning season in 1994, and focuses on the conflict that occurred throughout that season between club captain, Dermot Reeve and star batsman Brian Lara. The data sources used in this study were the autobiographical accounts of the captain and star player, supplemented by autobiographical accounts from the coach and a third player, and subsequent interviews with seven other players from the team. We first adopt the role of story-analysts, by undertaking a thematic analysis of data and then the role of story-tellers via the development of an ethnodrama, developed to illustrate the conflict between Reeve and Lara. The dialogue within the ethnodrama highlighted some of the determinants of these conflicts and the resulting consequences from multiple perspectives of those involved. Recommendations are offered in terms of interpersonal conflict and the potential use of ethnodrama as a pedagogic resource.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-624
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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