The different relational contexts in which the sport activities at a competitive level are played and, in particular, the behavior and the interpersonal style of the coach, play a vital role in shaping the potential psychological effects (both positive and negative) of sports participation in adolescence. The aim of this work was to explore the process of construction and development of the coach-athlete relationship and the impact of the quality of this relationship on personal wellbeing perceived by the protagonists. To this end, 50 adolescent athletes and 21 coaches from sport clubs of the region Campania, were interviewed. The interviews, transcribed verbatim, were analyzed by Grounded Theory approach. 13 categories emerged from the analysis they are grouped into 3 main conceptual areas: 1) Roles and tasks in the coach athlete relationship. 2) The victory point of arrival or point of departure? 3) The evolution of the relationship in relation to the reference systems. The core category identified is: Benefits of the relationship: from loneliness to share. From the reading of the phenomenon, two different interactive styles that characterize the coach-athlete relationship emerge, which are strongly influenced by the symbolic meaning attributed to the concept of victory and that influence their well-being and participation. It has also identified a dimension of deep loneliness, linked to the perception of a difficulty in carving out a space and a time for reflection and dialogue about the nature of the relationship itself. This recalls the need to theorize and take action on the perception of relational contexts in terms of prevention of dropouts and promoting wellbeing.
Keywords: Coach-athlete relationship, perceived well-being, sport, adolescence, Self determination Theory