Realising the Olympic dream: vision, support and challenge

Arthur, C. and Hardy, L. and Woodman, T. (2012) Realising the Olympic dream: vision, support and challenge. Reflective Practice, 13 (3). pp. 399-406. DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2012.670112

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The sporting arena is replete with examples and anecdotes of great inspirational coaches that have led teams to success, often in the face of adversity and against seemingly better opponents. The role of the coach in developing and motivating athletes has also been the focus of much research in sport psychology (e.g., Challaduria 1990; Smith & Smoll, 2007). Despite the ease with which one readily accepts that coaches can be inspirational, the sport coaching literature is somewhat devoid of research on inspirational coaches and the effects of such coaches on athletic success. The purpose of the current paper is to theoretically delineate the inspirational effects of coaches in sport. Given the relative paucity of inspiration-related research in sport we draw upon contemporary theories of leadership from organisational and military psychology (e.g., transformational and charismatic leadership theories). We propose a sport-specific model of leadership that centres around the vision, support, and challenge meta-cognitive model developed by Arthur and Hardy in military contexts. The model posits that �great� coaches inspire their athletes by: (a) creating an inspirational vision of the future; (b) providing the necessary support to achieve the vision; and (c) providing the challenge to achieve the vision. The underlying proposition is that the vision provides meaning and direction for followers� effort. That is, the vision serves as the beacon around which all the sweat, pain and sacrifice involved in achieving success at the highest level in sport is directed. At the heart of this model is the notion that athletes can achieve their dreams provided they are inspired to do so; this is because all other things being equal the person who is motivated to practice longer and train harder will ultimately be the best. The current paper will delineate the coach�s role in inspiring the athlete to train harder and longer.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Health and Behavioural Sciences > School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2014 04:01
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2016 03:13
ISSN: 1462-3943
Publisher's Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Reflective Practice on 3rd of April 2012, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14623943.2012.670112
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/3315
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2012.670112
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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