Burnout experiences of elite female basketball coaches


Burnout occurs when someone is overloaded with unattainable demands, leading them to experience increased emotional exhaustion, depersonalization/cynicism, and decreased feelings of personal accomplishment. Sport burnout research is dominated by studies on athletes, with few studies on coaches. Furthermore, only one study has focused exclusively on female coach burnout. Through Zoom interviews, our purpose was to examine the burnout experiences of 14 elite female basketball coaches in Canada. Four main themes emerged from the interviews. The first theme was Experiences of Burnout, where participants documented personal burnout experiences (e.g., feeling heart palpitations, feeling overloaded with job demands, debating if they should quit coaching) over the last 5 years. The second theme was Management of Burnout. Participants shared techniques (e.g., journaling, talking to someone, and engaging in physical activity) they used to reduce burnout. The third theme was Education; here participants identified that they received information on athlete burnout but had no formal education surrounding coach burnout. Participants also identified ways in which burnout education could be presented for the greatest impact on other coaches. The final theme, Recommendations included the advice participants provided for current/future coaches and organizations on how to decrease/manage burnout experiences (e.g., do things that make you happy, take breaks from coaching, and provide support to coaches). The outcome of the study provides coaches with practical solutions they can adopt to better manage their careers and reduce the likelihood of burnout. We also provide recommendations for organizations to better educate and support their elite female coaches.