Passion for coaching and the quality of the coach–athlete relationship: The mediating role of coaching behaviors

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Objectives:Using the Dualistic Model of Passion [Vallerand et al. (2003). Les passions de l’âme: on obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767], this study examined the role of coaches’ passion for coaching in athletes’ perceptions of the quality of the coach–athlete relationship. Moreover, we hypothesized that coaches’ harmonious and obsessive passion toward coaching should shape the manner they interact with their athletes that should, in turn, influence how athletes perceive relationship quality.Method:Participants were 103 coach–athlete dyads engaged in one of several sports (e.g., gymnastics, volleyball, soccer). They completed self-administered questionnaires independently.Results:Results from structural equation modeling revealed that harmonious passion for coaching positively predicted autonomy-supportive behaviors toward their athletes, while obsessive passion for coaching positively predicted controlling behaviors. Moreover, autonomy-supportive behaviors predicted high quality coach–athlete relationships as perceived by athletes that, in turn, positively predicted athletes’ general happiness.Conclusions:This study provides insights into the psychological factors that allow coaches to instigate high quality relationships with their athletes and the impact of the relationship on athletes’ general happiness. Future research directions are discussed in light of the Dualistic Model of Passion and the coach–athlete relationship.

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