The Dark Side of Gymnastics : A Narrative Analysis of Fear, Injury and the Tales of a Gymnast-Coach Dyad

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Akademin för hälsa och välfärd

Abstract: Gymnastics is a sport with a high risk of injury. The constant risk of injury leads to many opportunities for a gymnast to experience fear. Little is known about how gymnasts experience fear and how coaches perceive gymnasts' fear. The present study was a case study, with the purpose of exploring the experiences of post-injury fear in a gymnast-coach dyad. Two participants (a gymnast and his coach) were interviewed about their experiences of fear and injury. The experiences were analyzed using a narrative analysis, namely holistic form structural analysis. The analysis revealed three narratives. The coach had a hero’s journey narrative whereas the gymnast had both a chaos and a redemption narrative. These narratives complemented each other well as they made up for each other's weaknesses. These tales shared many similarities like chaos, motivation, and the negative consequences of fear and injury. They also had differences, for example, only the coach talked about identity, and only the gymnast talked about learning to cope with fear. The findings illuminate how two different people can experience the same incident of fear differently and how those different views complement each other

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