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Medicina dello Sport 2015 June;68(2):253-68


language: English, Italian

Are divergent perceptions on spiritual rituals among elite players and coaches linked to outcome of soccer competitions?

Dodo E. O. 1, Lyoka P. A. 1, Chetty I. G. 2, Goon D. T. 3

1 Department of Human Movement Sciences, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa; 2 Department of Old Testament & Hebrew, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa; 3 School of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing Science, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa


AIM: The purpose of the study was to establish whether divergent perceptions on spiritual rituals among elite players and coaches are linked to outcome of competitions.
METHODS: The study involved 100 soccer players and seven coaches in the four National First Division Soccer Clubs in the First Division League of South Africa National Soccer League. Qualitative and quantitative methods involving questionnaire, interview and observation were used for data collection.
RESULTS: Majority of the soccer players (80%) consented to the practice of spiritual rituals. Soccer players (7.30%) and coaches (85.7%) indulge in prayer rituals as well as both used adoptive ritual approach to deal with the divergences (85.7%). There was an association between religion and the various forms of rituals practices. Most soccer coaches used spiritual rituals in counselling players to prepare them psychologically. There was no significant association between player’s views and coaches’ acceptance of spiritual rituals divergence of their players (χ2 value=30.872, df=20, P>0.05), suggesting both players and coaches shared similar perceptions of spiritual rituals practices. About 14.3% of players maintained that their coaches rarely accept their spiritual rituals beliefs and 11.4% felt that their coaches accept minimal use of their ritual beliefs. Elite players were more comfortable to practice divergence of rituals. The association between the choice of rituals divergence practices approach and the relationship among players in the team (χ2 value=24.820, df=16, P>0.05) indicates the ritual divergences among players did not affect the team relationships. Rituals divergence during soccer competitions was accepted by players, (57.3%) irrespective of their approaches. About 27.9% favoured “All inclusive approach”, 8.2% “All exclusive approach”, 8.2% “Adopted approach”, 3.3% “Rotational approach” and 14.7% preferred “Non-divergence”. In total, 29.5% were against spiritual divergence while 13.1% were undecided.
CONCLUSION: Findings of the present study demonstrated that divergence of perceptions on spiritual ritual of coaches and elite players do not influence outcomes of soccer competitions, rather soccer competition outcomes were probably influenced by other factors. Soccer players and coaches were more interested in team cohesion as such they would not allow individual rituals to affect the strength of the team.

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