Pete Laird, July 2020, Edinburgh Napier University
This was a longitudinal study from a population of UK based American Football Head Coaches (n=49) who had who had left their posts over three off-seasons covering two competitive seasons. Each coach received a questionnaire based upon a previous methodology developed by Lyle, Allison & Taylor (1997). Head Coaches who self-identified themselves to have dropped out of coaching were recruited to complete a questionnaire receiving a 12 month follow up to determine whether or not they had returned to coaching.
The questionnaire measured gender, age, previous experience, and employment status. Length of tenure, reasons for leaving post and considerations for returning to coaching were also recorded.
Finally the study examined reasons why coaches ‘drop out’ of their coaching activities, investigating factors that may induce coaches to return to coaching.
The study results highlighted that Head Coaches are predominantly choosing to step down (87.8%) but are not leaving the sport but instead choosing to coach in a less demanding role with less responsibility (63.3%).
Head Coaches reported high levels of burnout through physical and emotional fatigue prior to stepping away from their post and cited a lack of support, time pressures, and a dissatisfaction with athlete commitment as prime factors for resigning from post.