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UK Coaching Research Team
63
Safety and Welfare

Serious Player Injuries: Strategies for Managing Your Reaction

It’s important to manage feelings of guilt relating to serious player injuries. Research suggests moderating your emotional response using ‘responsibility boundaries’ and fact-based reflection

While it is important to feel responsible for the safety of your players, a team of UK-based academics found that feeling guilty when players suffer serious injuries can have a long-term negative impact on your well-being and coaching experience.

Feeling guilty may seem like an intuitive response to something going wrong in an environment or situation that you are responsible for, but serious player injuries are classified in the DSM-5, the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals, as traumatic for coaches. 

A team of academics in the UK, who studied the psychological impact of serious player injuries on coaches, claimed that coaches should instead work on managing their feelings of guilt in relation to adverse events such as player injuries, as that puts them in a better position to support their injured player’s recovery and has a positive impact on their own well-being, improving the experience for themselves and their participants.

How can I manage my feelings of guilt?

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UK Coaching Research Team