Library Dissertation Showcase

Exploring teamwork in visually impaired runners and guide runners

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

For teams to function effectively, it is crucial for group members to work together effectively. Teamwork has been identified as an important group variable across various team contexts and is defined as a multifaceted process involving team members working together independently and collaboratively to achieve its purposes. The conceptual framework for team effectiveness in sport describes the behaviours that characterise teamwork in athletic contexts (McEwan & Beauchamp, 2014). While research has begun to examine the concept of teamwork in sport, there is a lack of understanding of teamwork in sports that involve visually impaired (VI) athletes. One sports team that has received limited attention within the context of teamwork is the partnership between a VI runner and their running guide. Visually impaired individuals face multiple barriers to participating in physical activity, including a lack of peers to exercise with; running with a guide offers a potential solution. To date, no research has yet examined VI runners and guides’ experiences of teamwork which may differ from those experienced by participants in other team sports. Therefore, this study aimed to explore qualitatively the teamwork experiences of VI runners and running guides. After receiving ethical approval eight athletes, including four VI runners and four running guides, participated in in-depth, semi-structured online interviews (Mduration = 66.5 min, SD = 18.2 min), exploring their perceptions of teamwork. Data were analysed in accordance with steps for reflexive thematic analysis, with strategies employed to enhance trustworthiness. Analysis reveals novel insights into teamwork behaviours within the guided running group, providing an insight into this dyadic relationships’ unique aspects. This study will extend existing knowledge on teamwork in sport by offering new insights into the distinctive features of teamwork in VI running. In turn, the findings could have applied implications by helping to integrate VI individuals into the sporting community.

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