Bentzen, M., Lemyre, P. N., & Kenttä, G. (2016). Changes in Motivation and Burnout Indices in High-Performance Coaches Over the Course of a Competitive Season. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology28(1), 28-48.

by Rachel Webb


Looking at high-performance coaching has a very narrow field of research to support it and this study can be seen as a cornerstone for exploring the process influencing the burnout and well being of these coaches. Using the 4 step self determination theory over the course of a competitive season, it was ultimately discovered that there is a direct correlation with an increase rate in burnout and decreased well being for these high-performance coaches (Bentzen, Lemyre, & Kenttä, 2016). The types of stressors that were reviewed in this study include the stress of monitoring ones own coaching performance, along with having perceived control over the performance of their players. Player performance is often uncontrollable despite what coaches may aim to do, and this is dealt with along side the stressors that are brought on by the organizational side of the high-performance coaching position. These stressors can include areas such as administrative/leadership duties, perceived workload, and attempting a work-private life balance. In order to look at the longitude of this study to determine the effects of the multitude of potential stressors, the authors provided their questionnaires three weeks before the season and again three weeks before the season was about to end. Due to the previous studies focusing on a stress perspective, there has been little research in the field of the motivational perspective or self-determination theory. It has been suggested that burnout can only be experienced by those who have expectations or goals for their work and thus will experience burnout when they are not experiencing feelings of significance for their effort. In order to be a high-performance coach, dedication and passion are typically key in achieving access to this level of performance, so by using the SDT there is an attempt to understand the relationship between the individual’s interactions with the environment to the outcome actually experienced that caused this burnout.

Although the competitive season itself had no indication of affecting the level of burnout or well being of the high-performance coaches there was significant support for the changes in perceived environment, psychological need satisfaction, autonomous motivation, and finally change in burnout and well being (Bentzen, Lemyre, & Kenttä, 2016). The self-determination theory process model was successful in providing the framework for better understanding the how and why differences in burnout within the arena of professional work experience. With this study as an initial foundation, we can continue to understand how to identify and confront the prolonged exposure to high work-related demands that causes burnout, and conceptualize the necessary resources needed to increase coaches overall well being through a competitive season.