Coach image and psychological wellbeing of student athletes

PhD, Associate Professor S.A. Vorobev1
Dr.Hab., Associate Professor A.G. Gretsov1, 2
Dr.Sc.Psych., Professor E.B. Laktionova2
PhD, Associate Professor Yu.S. Pezhemskaya2
PhD, Associate Professor N.L. Somova2
1St. Petersburg Scientific Research Institute for Physical Culture, St. Petersburg
2Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St. Petersburg

Objective of the study was to identify the image of a sports coach in the perception of student athletes in the context of various aspects of the athletes' psychological wellbeing.
Methods and structure of the study. The pilot study involved 64 subjects: student athletes (39 males and 25 females), studying at Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Lesgaft National State University, Pushkin Leningrad State University, St. Petersburg (mean age - 22 years). The sample was equally represented by the students specializing in different sports.
The sports coach image was analyzed using the "Coach-Athlete" scale (Y. Hanin, A. Stambulov), which enables athletes to carry out a socially-perceptive appraisal of the coach's personal and professional characteristics and allows presenting a generalized "portrait" of a coach at the gnostic, emotional, and behavioral levels. In addition, the respondents were offered a matrix (semantic differential) to characterize the image of a real and ideal coach. The subjective wellbeing of the student athletes was rated using the "Wellbeing scale" (K. Riff, modified by L. Zhukovskaya and E. Troshchihina).
Results of the study and conclusions. The top five important qualities of a coach, both real and ideal, were as follows: professional, interested, competent, respectful, confident. These qualities characterize a certain personal "strength" of a coach as a teacher and may precondition the set-up of the students' personal development program. In the minds of student athletes with the high level of psychological wellbeing, a coach must possess professional competence, manifested in their behavior. For the student athletes with the insufficient goal-setting level, it is personal qualities of the coach that are decisive, since the structural components of their psychological wellbeing are self-acceptance and positive attitude. For the student athletes with the shaped life goals, the significance of coach image faded in comparison to their self-sufficiency and personal growth.

Keywords: coach, image of a coach, athlete, psychological wellbeing, student.

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