Stress and mental well-being experiences of elite football coaches

Lee Baldock, Brendan Cropley, Rich Neil, Stephen Mellalieu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Despite researchers examining the stress and coping experiences of elite coaches (see Norris et al., 2017), many have considered the components of the stress process in isolation, lacked sport-specific insights, and overlooked the wider impact of stressors on mental well-being. Consequently, we aimed to explore: (a) the stress experiences of elite football coaches; and (b) the impact of these experiences on their well-being and how they function in their personal and professional lives. Following receipt of institutional ethics-board approval, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight, purposively sampled English Premier League first-team coaches. Data were analysed via thematic and causal network analyses, identifying that: (a) a range of contextually dependent demands were experienced and interpreted in relation to their situational properties; (b) many demands were appraised and emotionally responded to in a negative manner; (c) a range of coping strategies were adopted, but many were reported as being ineffective; and, (d) stress experiences often led to negative implications for participants’ mental well-being. Positive adaptations to some demands experienced were reported and augmented perceptions of mental well-being. These findings highlight the importance of elite football coaches becoming more aware of, and becoming better equipped to cope with the demands associated with their roles to avoid potential negative implications for their mental well-being. The findings have led to the development of coach education interventions, aimed at helping elite football coaches become more aware of their own role-related stress and mental well-being experiences. These have been integrated into a national association’s UEFA Professional Licence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S24-S25
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
EventInternational Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) 13th Global Coach Conference 2021 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 17 Nov 202121 Nov 2021
Conference number: 13th


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