University serial winning coaches’ experiences with low performance and maladaptive team culture

Madison M. Fraser, Gordon A. Bloom, Clifford J. Mallett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We sought to explore the strategies and behaviours employed by University serial winning coaches during seasons of both low performance and a maladaptive team culture. We interviewed seven University team sport coaches and subsequently analyzed the data using a reflexive thematic analysis (RTA). Results indicated that our coaches generally felt unprepared for the unexpected and challenging season, leading to increased stress and decreased psychological well-being. Coaches experienced frustration, disappointment, and self-doubt, which was either exacerbated or mitigated by their access to social support. Despite the emotional turmoil coaches experienced, they were able to reflect on their actions and take away key lessons, helping them perform well in the future. Findings provide insight into how winning coaches manage and overcome inevitable adverse situations. Moreover, these results provide a deeper understanding of how these highly successful coaches navigate these key challenges that over time can inform policy and practice in coach development. These coaching strategies may help coaches of all levels overcome barriers to success and may be transferable to leaders of all levels across a range of disciplines outside of sport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102677
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
StatePublished - Sep 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Coaching excellence
  • High-performance sport
  • Psychological well-being
  • Social support
  • Team culture


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