This study sought to explore the sources of stress as experienced by adolescent athletes. A three-year longitudinal study of one male and one female athlete competing for Great Britain in the same sport was undertaken. A qualitative methodology was employed, and interviews and observations were conducted with the participants before, during, and after national and international competitions, training, and throughout the off season. The semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and the data was analysed using inductive content analysis. Organisational stressors that emerged from the analysis were poor training experiences, negative impact for family, learning experiences, and negative experiences. Personal stressors emerged as either negative stressors or positive outcomes and the overall emergent factor from competitive stressors was expectancy. The findings revealed that whilst competitive stressors were not only expected for the male athlete, they were a motivational factor. Furthermore, organisational stressors impinged upon the male and female performances. Personal stressors evidenced that participant perceptions of stressors changed over time due to growth and maturity. Thus future research needs to further examinee the changing nature of stressors over time.
|Keywords:||Elite Sport, Adolescent, Sources of Stress, Organisational Stress, Personal Stress, Competitive Stress, Support Systems, Sport Psychology|
Senior Lecturer, Sport Psychology and Coaching Science, School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK