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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01939

Emotional intelligence (EI) training adapted to the international preparation constraints in rugby: Influence of EI trainer status on EI training effectiveness

  • 1Psy-DREPI (EA7458), Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France
  • 2Sport Psychology Department, Fédération Française de Rugby, France
  • 3German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • 4EA4260 Centre d'Études Sport et Actions Motrices, Normandie Université, France
  • 5Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France
  • 6Laboratoire CETAPS, Université de Rouen, France
  • 7Laboratoire de Psychologie, Dynamiques Relationnelles Et Processus Identitaires, Université de Bourgogne, France

Given the positive influence of Emotional intelligence (EI) on sports performance, particular attention should be paid on how to improve it. Following promising results, previous research concluding that it was possible to improve EI via specific training programs also raised considerable debates. Indeed, previous EI training programs were very time consuming for participants. This lessens consequently their suitability with the schedule constraints of elite sport. While, in absence of sport psychologists, numerous coaches or physiologists try to work with players to improve their emotional competences, the aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of EI training programs fitting the schedule constraints of elite team sports, provided by three different EI trainers: the team’s coach, the team’s physiotherapist, and an expert in sport psychology. Young elite rugby union players (N=96) participated in this study. Based on schedule constraints imposed by the head coach of the French u18 rugby union national team, the program consisted in three 1hr group-based EI training sessions occuring the last three days before a game (1 per day). Linear Mixed Effects models showed that despite the constraining organizational challenge imposed by the coach, the intervention helped the players to increase some emotional competences at the trait level. Furthermore, a pairwise analysis showed that the type of emotional competencies developed depended on the status of the EI trainers. These findings highlight the suitability of a group-based approach in the training-week structure. They also point the way to EI improvement in a short period of time. Moreover, the specific influences of the EI trainer’s status on players’ EI development invite coaches and researchers to jointly combine their efforts in order to increase the EI training opportunities and to maximize the effects of their interventions. Together, these preliminary results provide first evidence facilitating the integration of such work in the preparation periods during international seasons.

Keywords: Emotional intelligence (El), training, Coaching (performance), team sports, Rugby, performance, elite sport, Coach-Athlete Relationship

Received: 15 Apr 2019; Accepted: 07 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Adam R. Nicholls, University of Hull, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

John Toner, University of Hull, United Kingdom
Giovanni Messina, University of Foggia, Italy  

Copyright: © 2019 CAMPO, Laborde, Martinent, Louvet and Nicolas. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Mickaël CAMPO, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Psy-DREPI (EA7458), Besançon, France,