Examining the role of mindfulness in stress management: Interviews with sports coaches

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University of New Brunswick


The chronic and acute stress experienced by sport coaches may negatively affect coaching performance, leading to burnout or early retirement. Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle and nurturing lens. The study objectives were to examine the sport coaches existing stress-coping strategies and to identify the perceived barriers and enabling factors to practice mindfulness using the Theoretical Domains Framework. Eligibility criteria included certified sports coaches over 19 years old and one year of coaching experience. This was a deductive qualitative study using a thematic approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted online. Sixteen sport coaches (female= 6, male= 10, median age= 43) participated in the study. This study identified that sports coaches use multiple coping strategies proactively, reactively, or combination. A paradigm shift in coaching roles and identity is needed to help sport coaches see themselves as performers alongside their athletes.