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Coaches’ perceptions of factors driving training adaptation:an international survey

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-09, 10:43 authored by Kechi Anyadike-Danes, Lars Donath, John KielyJohn Kiely

Objective We surveyed coaches’ views on topics related to the training process to elucidate whether their opinions are aligned with the current literature. Here the results for a sub-set of questions regarding factors affecting the training adaptation process are presented and discussed. Methods 106 coaches [age range 18–65+years, 31% 15+years coaching, 58% individual-events/sports and 32% international level] from a number of countries completed a novel cross-sectional online survey about the planning of training and the training process. Results Only 28% of participants indicated that physical training was the most important factor in determining sport performance; whereas 99% indicated non-physical factors influence physical training response. The top five factors in modifying an athlete’s ability to physically adapt to a training plan, as rated ‘absolutely essential’, were ‘coach-athlete relationship’ (56%), ‘life stress’ (41%), ‘athletes’ belief in the plan’ (37%), ‘psychological and emotional stress’ (35%) and ‘physical training’ (33%). Conclusions Amongst coaches surveyed less than a third rated physical training as the most important factor in determining sports performance. Non-physical factors were acknowledged by the majority to exert an influence on physical training response and adaptation, despite the lack of discussion in training research, though there was no consensus on the relative importance of each individual factor. We echo previous sentiments that coaches need to be engaged in the research process. If training research continues as present the field runs the risk of not only becoming detached but increasingly irrelevant to those it is trying to help.



Sports Medicine


Springer Nature

Other Funding information

Projekt DEAL

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

Department or School

  • Physical Education and Sports Science
  • School of Education

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