Professional rugby coaches’ perceptions of the role of the team captain
The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of the coach in relation to the perceived function of captains in professional rugby union. Participants were eight elite male rugby coaches purposefully sampled for this study. Participants were interviewed individually to gain an understanding of their experiences and perceptions of the role of the captain. The data were thematically analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Ten super-ordinate themes emerged in the study: types of captain, captain development, challenges, captains role, off field responsibilities, nature of the job, selection, cultural architects, coach-captain relationship, and key attributes. Results suggest coaches view the captain as an extension of their authority in the team, leadership groups are increasingly important to support captains, and that the criteria for the selection of captains is still vague. As a result, future research should explore the development of specific evidence-based approaches to captain selection and development.