Elite coaches’ experiences of creating pressure training environments

Mike Stoker */**, Pete Lindsay *, Joanne Butt **, Mark Bawden * and Ian W. Maynard **

(*) English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, UK
(**) Sheffield Hallam University, UK


Stoker, M., Lindsay, P., Butt, J., Bawden, M., W. Maynard, I. (2016). Elite coaches’ experiences of creating pressure training environments. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 47(3), 262-281. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2016.47.262


Recent research supports the practice of pressure training in sport (Bell, Hardy, & Beattie, 2013), yet limited knowledge exists regarding how pressure is systematically created. This study explored how 11 elite coaches developed pressure training environments for the performance enhancement of their athletes. Following thematic analysis of transcribed semi-structured interviews, findings detailed how coaches manipulated a variety of stressors (e.g., task, forfeit, judgment) to manage the demands and consequences of training. Facilitated by individual differences, this process created pressure, defined as the perception that it is important to perform exceptionally. The findings provide a framework for developing pressure, coping mechanisms, and performance in training environments in preparation for future sporting competition.

Keywords: Choking, Coaching, Consequences, Coping, Demands, Elite, Important to perform, Individual differences, Pressure, Stress, Stressors