Developing emotion abilities and regulation strategies in a sport organization: An action research intervention

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This study aimed to improve the practice of individuals operating in a sport organization by providing an intervention to develop emotion abilities and strategies.


A two-phase action research approach was adopted to facilitate the objective and to assess the intervention's effectiveness.


In the first phase of the intervention, 25 individuals fulfilling a range of roles (i.e., board of directors, chief executive officer, heads of performance and development, staff, administrators, national coaches and team managers, club coaches, national talent academy athletes) attended educational workshops over a 6 month period. In the second phase, three pivotal operators (i.e., national managers) received one-to-one coaching for a further 3 months. Data were collected using a range of self-report and performance measures, participant daily diaries, a researcher's log, and social validation interviews.


Following social validation procedures the findings suggest that both phases were effective at improving the practice of participants, with significant improvements in regulation strategy use, perceptions of relationship quality, and closeness. However, only participants receiving the extended one-to-one coaching showed improvement in emotional intelligence ability scores.


The findings indicate that short-term generic interventions to promote the use of adaptive emotion regulation strategies may be effective in sport organizations, but the purposive development of emotional intelligence may require more longitudinal and idiographic approaches.


▸ A 9 month, two-phase, emotion ability intervention to promote functioning in sport. ▸ Workshops and one-to-one coaching improved emotion regulation use and relationships. ▸ Only the coaching group showed improvement in emotional intelligence ability scores. ▸ Increases in perceived individual, relational and organizational functioning found.

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