PhD Study Recommends Psychological Training for Coaches and Elite Runners
A thesis on causal attribution of elite athletes on their performance has earned Ethiopian national, Dr Cherinet Hailu Balami a PhD in Sports Science.
Supervised by Dr Rowena Naidoo, Balami’s thesis was titled: Casual attribution of elite athletes on their performance: The case of Ethiopian long and middle-distance runners.
According to Balami, Ethiopia is known for its long and middle-distance runners in the world. However, the inability of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation to design appropriate training programmes based on an athlete’s personal ability and history in relation to their physiological, psychological, technical and tactical development, remains a major challenge.
Balami’s study aimed to identify the association of causal attribution with the performance of elite Ethiopian long and middle-distance runners. It also aimed to develop attribution retraining strategies suitable for the Ethiopian context.
The study revealed that the Ethiopian elite long and middle-distance runners attributed their successful races to internal, stable, global, personal control, external control and intentional attribution dimensions. It attributed failures to internal, unstable, personally controllable, externally controllable and unintentional causes.
‘There were no significant differences between male and female Ethiopian long and middle-distance runners’ groups in the score of internality, stability, controllability, globality and intentionality dimensions attributed to both successes and failures,’ said Balami.
However, he said apart from the intentionality dimension, there were no significant differences between junior and senior elite Ethiopian runners’ groups in the score of internality, stability, controllability and globality dimensions attributed to successes and failures.
His recommendations included that coaches and the elite runners undergo psychological training to provide psychological support to athletes. He also recommended that attribution retraining programmes should be provided to coaches and elite athletes.
Balami has been working as a lecturer at UKZN’s Sport Science Discipline before he enrolled to study at UKZN. ‘I was teaching athletics related courses, organising practical sessions, coaching the varsity teams, scheduling department activities and different competitions,’ he said.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini