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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Easier in Practice Than in Theory: Experiences of Coaches in Charge of Community-Based Soccer Training for Men with Prostate cancer-A Descriptive Qualitative Study.

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Background: Evidence suggests that community-based exercise programs and sports participation benefit long-term physical activity adherence and promote health in clinical populations. Recent research shows that community-based soccer can improve mental health and bone health and result in fewer hospital admissions in men with prostate cancer. However, little knowledge exists on what coaches experience, leading to a scarcity of knowledge on how to assist them in promoting and supporting the sustainability of programs. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of non-professional soccer coaches in providing community-based soccer training for men with prostate cancer.

Results: We interviewed 13 out of 21 eligible non-professional soccer coaches in charge of delivering the Football Club Prostate Community program, which is community-based soccer training for men with prostate cancer at 12 local soccer clubs across Denmark. Qualitative content analysis, as described by Graneheim and Lundman, was applied to analyze the data using NVivo 12 software. We identified the five following overall categories with 10 subcategories on what the coaches experienced: (1) enabling training of a clinical population in a community setting, (2) dedication based on commitment, (3) coaching on the players' terms, (4) navigating the illness, and (5) ensuring sustainability. Collectively, the findings suggest that, while the coaches felt adequately prepared to coach, their coaching role developed and was refined only through interaction with the players, indicating that coaching clinical populations may be easier in practice than in theory and a potentially transformative learning experience.

Conclusions: Non-professional soccer coaches in charge of delivering soccer training for men with prostate cancer value being educated about specific illness-related issues. Initial concerns about how to coach a clinical population disappeared once the coaches engaged with the players and developed their own team norms and illness management strategies. They also gained a broader perspective on their own lives, which they valued and would not otherwise have achieved by coaching a healthy population. Our study indicates that sustainable implementation and the program's sustainability can be promoted and supported through additional formal, easily accessible communication with trained health professionals and by networking with peer coaches.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalSports Med Open
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022

    Research areas

  • Health Sciences
  • Coaching, Community, Exercise, Health promotion, Interview, Learning, Non-professional, Rehabilitation, Soccer, Sport

ID: 78225913