Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


The realm of elite sport involves the continuous pursuit of excellence (Chelladurai, 2012). Part of this pursuit involves selection decisions in sport, where a coach chooses and communicates who will participate and compete for a team (Lipsyte, 1979). For the purpose of this thesis, selection in sport involves three processes: selection for team membership (or non-selection), selection to maintain team membership (or de-selection), and selection to represent the team in events (or playing-time selection). Further, as coaches are making and communicating selection decisions, athletes are receiving and processing these selection decisions. This exchange of information often elicits negative affective, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes in athletes (Gleddieet al., 2019; Groveet al., 2004; Neelyet al.,2016; Seifred & Casey, 2012). There is a body of literature addressing the effects of selection decisions in sport, however this literature solely addresses the experiences of youth athletes in the non-selection and de-selection processes (Capstick & Trudel, 2010a,b; Neely et al., 2016; Seifred & Casey, 2012). The purpose of this study is to understand how collegiate athletes are interpreting the communication of playing-time selection, as well as the behavioral, cognitive, affective, and social outcomes involved in this interpretation.

A qualitative social constructivist design was utilized. Participants included 9 NCAA Division I-III athletes (female identifying n = 6, male identifying n = 3; female identifying mean age: 20.25, male identifying mean age: 20; female identifying SD: 0.52, male identifying SD: 1). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five questions, followed by secondary or follow up questions. Interviews ranged from 30-90 minutes in length. They were transcribed verbatim and coded into respective themes. The final vithematic structure consisted of the following: contextual factors to playing-time selection, influences to playing-time selection, playing-time communication, responses to playing-time communication, and responses to playing-time selection decisions. Overall, the findings suggest that the communication of selection decisions is a multifaceted, intricate process between the coach and athlete, relying on forms of implicit and explicit communication as well as several influencing and contextual factors.



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