Sport psychology researchers have long been interested in identifying the psychological qualities of peak athletic performance (see Krane & Williams, 2006: In Applied sport psychology: Personal growth for peak performance, edited by J. M. Williams. New York: MacGraw-Hill). Several recall studies, involving Olympic and World Champions, have provided insights into how athletes develop these qualities (e.g. Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2002: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 154–171). However, there has been limited research investigating the psychological qualities perceived essential during speciﬁc stages of athlete development. Furthermore, the existent studies exploring ideal psychological qualities have tended to adopt the perspective of the athlete, while the perceptions of signiﬁcant others (e.g. the coach) involved in athlete development, have often been overlooked. The importance of obtaining multiple perspectives is reinforced by investigations that have reported inconsistencies between coaches’ and athletes’ perceptions (e.g. Vargas-Tonsing, Myers, & Feltz, 2004: The Sport Psychologist, 18, 397–414). Therefore, the aim of the present research was to examine the perceived ideal psychological qualities deemed relevant to elite pathway under-16 rugby, and compare perceptions shared by under-16 players with the views expressed by their coaches and players who recently progressed from this level (under-18). Eight focus group interviews were conducted with under-16 (n ¼ 28) and under-18 (n ¼ 10) male rugby players, and coaches (n ¼ 7). Each group consisted of 4–10 participants and lasted between 45 and 60 minutes. 11 ﬁrst-order and 35 second-order themes emerged from content analysis of the data.
- Psychological qualities