An Examination of Reciprocity among Coach and Athletes in Female Elite Junior Swimming: A Shared Reality Theory Perspective
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Based on the proposition that the coach-athlete relationship is at its best when both coach and athlete contribute to the coach-athlete relationship process, the present master thesis set out to investigate if Shared Reality Theory (SRT) could provide new insights on the topic. SRT stipulates that human beings are epistemically and relationally motivated to experience a shared reality with others about a target referent, and that a shared reality about a goal pursuit serves as social verification which makes the goal pursuit experienced as worthwhile. As such, it seems likely that partners in a coach-athlete relationship who experience a shared reality with the other partner, would experience (a) a strong relationship with the other, and (b) being more motivated by their current training regime, as it is experienced as worthwhile. Six female elite junior swimmers and their head coach were interviewed three times over nine months. Based on an interpretive, narrative thematic analysis, the present master thesis argues that athletes who experience a shared reality with their coach are more motivated and report a higher sense of psychological well-being. The coach seems to experience a shared reality unless athletes’ communication indicates otherwise. To establish the experience of a shared reality, reciprocal and honest communication motivated by trust in the other is needed. Due to power imbalance, it is deemed important for coaches to behave supportive and trustworthy to motivate athletes to open up so coach and athlete synergistically can work together in their coach-athlete relationship.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2020