Health SA Gesondheid (Online)
On-line version ISSN 1025-9848
SURUJLAL, Jhalukpreya and NGUYEN, Sheila. Coping under pressure: Strategies for maintaining confidence amongst South African soccer coaches. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1025-9848.
Sport coaching can be a fulfilling and rewarding occupation, but can also be stressful because of the demands and expectations of various external factors. The complex and extraordinary demands placed on coaches, force them to perform multiple roles (e.g. educator, motivator, counsellor, adviser, trainer, manager and administrator). Soccer coaches face a number of challenges, frustrations, conflicts and tensions, the enormity of which is often underestimated. This notion is supported by the description of coaching as a perilous occupation in which coaches experience pressures like stress, conflict and tension, media pressure and intrusions into family life. This study explored the perceptions of South African soccer coaches in terms of the mechanisms they use to cope with potential stressors experienced in their jobs and employed a non-experimental design, using a quantitative approach, to assess stress and coping strategies of South African coaches. One hundred and twelve soccer coaches, coaching at the provincial level and higher, completed a questionnaire on stress and stress coping mechanisms used in their coaching jobs. Descriptive data analysis was completed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS - version 16). The sources of stress experienced and coping methods used by the coaches were evaluated. Results revealed that the top three sources of stress were a lack of resources, fixture backlog and games where the outcome is critical, whilst the lowest three sources of stress were political interference, physical assaults from players and substituting a player. Moreover, various coping strategies used by the coaches showed that an average of 5.68%, 5.14% and 89.78% of the sample used maladaptive coping, emotion management coping and problem management coping strategies respectively. Academic and practical implications of the study results are discussed.