Elite Disability Sport Coaches’ Views on Sport Psychology

Tânia Bastos, Rui Corredeira, Michel Probst, António M. Fonseca


Although the coach is a key element in the psychological preparation of the athletes, few is known about what
coaches from disability sport context think about the importance of psychological preparation. Therefore, this
study aimed to explore: 1) the educational background of disability sport coaches, 2) the perceptions of the
coaches on the importance of psychological preparation for their athletes, and 3) the opinions of the coaches
regarding the role of sport psychologists. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Portuguese elite
disability sport coaches (n=10; male=8 and female=2; swimming =4, track and field=2, boccia=3 and rowing=1)
included in the Paralympic Project London 2012. Standard qualitative methodology and content analysis were
used to analyse the data. The participants revealed an educational background in sport sciences and in sport
psychology. A high status of sport psychology and psychological preparation also emerged from the data. Full
receptiveness to work with sport psychologists was exhibited, although some participants mentioned barriers to
sport psychologists’ intervention (e.g., coach awareness, athlete receptiveness, time, finances). In general, the
findings of this study highlighted the importance of sport psychology in Portuguese disability sport.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijps.v6n1p33

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International Journal of Psychological Studies   ISSN 1918-7211 (Print)   ISSN 1918-722X (Online)

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