Football coaches between victories, defeats and emotions
Football coaches who have their emotions under control are more successful. This has now been reported in the Sports journal by scientists from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Emotions and how they are dealt with have a great impact on the performance of coaches and therefore also the team as a whole. Emotional processes in coaches are cyclic and can become stronger in a crisis. Trainers with great emotional competence, on the other hand, can break through a vicious circle easier.
Researchers at KIT and Goethe University have examined what role emotional factors play in sporting trends. According to their findings, a coach's optimum emotional state improves the performance of the whole team, while the opposite deteriorates it. "As a result, the emotional competence of a coach—in other words their ability at various stages of a season to deal with and control their own feelings and those of the players—is a very important skill," says Darko Jekauc from the Institute of Sports and Sports Science at KIT.
The professor for sports psychology and his team have interviewed coaches at amateur and youth level, and found that their emotions go in cycles: "Triggers such as victories and defeats, or progress and stagnation in the development of players are followed by emotional experiences such as joy, anger, fear and helplessness, which become noticeable on a physical, mental or behavioral level," explains Jekauc, giving examples such as goosebumps, increasing blood pressure, brooding, gestures and facial expressions.
The coaches who were interviewed named as a next step a wide variety of strategies on dealing with their surges in emotion. "These range from talking to the players or their family to walking their dog or having a couple of beers after the game," says Jekauc. Coaches who obviously managed to control their emotions felt more balanced and self-confident afterwards. This ultimately also had a positive impact on their job, for example, by dealing with their players more openly and being more focused at work.
Scientists recommend placing greater emphasis on the development of the emotional competence of future coaches in coaching programs.