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UK Coaching Team
Self-care and development

How Coaches Can Identify and Manage Stress: Negative Appraisals

In the third part of a series, Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University Alexandra Potts explores the negative appraisals of threat and harm in stressful situations

Threat and harm are seen as more negative appraisals of situations. It is important to be aware of when you appraise situations negatively, as an appraisal of threat or harm can mentally and physically exhaust you.

In the long-term, this can cause burnout and damage to well-being.

A threat appraisal is where you:

  1. Sense that you do not have the resources (skills, knowledge, experience, coping strategies) to meet the demands of the stressor in that situation.
  2. View the experience as threatening to your goals (either individual goals or collectively with participants).

Examples of situations where you might experience a threat appraisal include:

  • work overload
  • speaking openly and honestly about challenges in a club
  • conflict with existing coaching staff when trying to change a club culture
  • new staff and changes to the staffing structure
  • bringing in new participants to the group when there are existing tensions
  • lack of control over your coaching schedule.

A harm appraisal is where:

  1. You perceive damage has already happened to you.
  2. The experience has already prevented you from achieving your goals (either individual goals or collectively with your participants).

Examples of situations where you might experience a harm appraisal are:

  • insecurity around your coaching role and future at the club following unsuccessful performances
  • where you’re careful about how you work with individuals in a club (e.g., head coach, performance director) and what you say to these individuals (e.g., feedback you may perceive as constructive but may be taken as a negative) to ensure you could secure working at the club next year.


Can you think back over the last two weeks about a time when you experienced a threat or a harm appraisal in your role as a coach?

How did that make you feel?


It's important to reduce threat and harm appraisals as these are damaging to your performance, progression, health and well-being.

This can be achieved by:

  • resolution or relief-seeking (i.e., working to remove the stressful experience)
  • developing the skills to reappraise these situations in a more positive manner (e.g., as a developmental opportunity that could enhance growth and development in the future)
  • allowing coaches to have control over their own schedules
  • allowing coaches to have autonomy over their work.

By achieving the above, this can foster well-being and mitigate the potentially damaging impacts of threat and harm appraisals.

More on Stress

The fourth resource in this series explains the importance of considering how your participants appraise stressful situations


Related Resources

  • Dealing with Feelings: The Importance of Getting your Head Around Emotion Perception

  • Applied Coaching Research Journal: October 2020 Volume 6

  • The Importance of Emotional Awareness


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UK Coaching Team