Perfectionism Traits and Coping Strategies in Soccer: A Study on Athletes' Training Environment

By Do Nascimento, José Roberto Andrade; De Oliveira, Leonardo Pestillo et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, March 2020 | Go to article overview

Perfectionism Traits and Coping Strategies in Soccer: A Study on Athletes' Training Environment


Do Nascimento, José Roberto Andrade, De Oliveira, Leonardo Pestillo, Vissoci, Joäo Ricardo Nickenig, Ferreira, Luciana, Fiorese, Lenamar, Freire, Gabriel Lucas Morais, Da Silva, Adson Alves, De Moraes, José Fernando Vila Nova, Vieira, José Luiz Lopes, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Being a successful athlete requires a high degree of persistence, dedication, discipline and effort, as well as a satisfactory environment that allows athletic development. Research has pointed out that it is rare for an

athlete to succeed in the sport if he/she does not have access to a training environment that favors the development and optimization of sports skills (Henriksen, Stambulova, & Roessler, 2010).

Thus, individuals participating in systematic training centers have better infrastructure and training quality for athletic development (Araújo, Miller, & Manner, 2014; Henriksen et al., 2010) and, potentially from psychological skills adapted to the sporting context. In this scenario, the training environment seems to be a significant variable. However, as far as our literature review has reached, no study has identified how the structure of the training environment is associated with the traits of perfectionism and stress confrontation (coping), and favor the performance and continuity of the sporting career.

The coping strategies can be characterized as a multidimensional self-regulation construct that represents the constant changes in the behavioral and cognitive mechanisms used to manage the stressful demands of the context (Lazarus & Folkman, 1987). Therefore, it is known that the inability to overcome stressful demands and adversity in the sport (coping) has been highlighted as a significant factor in the lack of success of athletes during the search for high performance (Lazarus & Folkman, 1987), since several researches have associated sporting success with the proper use of the coping strategies (Meyers, Stewart, Laurent, Leunes, & Bourgeois, 2008; Nieuwenhuys, Vos, Pijpstra, & Bakker, 2011). However, there are still inconsistencies about how athletes develop appropriate coping strategies and what factors intervene in this process (Tamminen & Holt, 2012).

In fact, the training environment has also been reported as an important factor, but assessed from the motivational climate (Baser, Bayar, & Ghorbanzadeh, 2013), team or competitive level (Kristiansen & Roberts, 2010) and performance of young and adult athletes (Nicholls & Polman, 2007; Nicholls, Polman, & Levy, 2012). However, none of these studies investigated the team's training structure, considering the degree of professionalism that athletes go through.

Researches have reported the importance of other psychological constructs in sport for the proper use of coping strategies (Gaudreau & Antl, 2008; Mouratidis & Michou, 2011), portraying that this construct is directly and indirectly influenced by intervening elements. Specifically, some personality traits have been identified as determinants for the use of coping strategies in the sporting context (Allen, Frings, & Hunter, 2012), highlighted as predictors the perfectionist orientations of athletes (Hill & Curran, 2016; Hill, Madigan, Smith, MallinsonHoward, & Donachie, 2019).

The traits of perfectionism reflect the establishment of high standards of personal achievement, as well as a tendency to critically assess performance achievements (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990). Perfectionism is considered as a construction of personality, but it is impacted by the environment, assuming, in the sporting context, adaptive characteristics or perfectionistic strivings (PS) (pattern of personal or organizational realization) or maladaptive or perfectionist concerns (PC) (concern with errors, doubts in action, social criticism among others) (Gotwals, Stoeber, Dunn, & Stoll, 2012). This dichotomy has been shown to be important in determining positive or negative outcomes in sport (Stoeber, 2018; Stoeber, Damian, & Madigan, 2017; Stoeber, Edbrooke-Childs, & Damian, 2016) mainly related to copying strategies (Mouratidis & Michou, 2011). However, it is still necessary to advance in literature on how the relationship between these two psychological constructs is influenced by the structure of the training environment. …

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