The aim of this research is to reveal the metaphorical perceptions of handball coaches regarding the concept of athletes. The study group consists of a total of 186 handball coaches, 140 males and 46 females (Age: 38.37 ± 10.61), voluntarily participating in the research. Coaches who agreed to participate in the study were asked to complete the sentence "An athlete is like... because..." in order to uncover the metaphors they associate with the concept of "athlete." In the findings of the study, the metaphorical perceptions developed by handball coaches regarding the concept of "athlete" were categorized under 5 categories, namely "Athlete as a Valuable Being," "Athlete as a Moldable Material," "Athlete as a Reflective Being," "Athlete as a Mysterious and Complex Individual Requiring Effort to Understand," and "Athlete as a Passive Recipient."The results of the research indicate that handball coaches perceive their athletes as valuable beings and often liken them to their own children. In this process, effective communication and cooperation between athletes and coaches are of great importance. However, not all coach-athlete relationships may progress smoothly. There can be ego clashes and conflicts between coaches and athletes, especially when athletes reach a certain level of expertise. Some athletes may choose to disregard coach's guidance and act based on their own beliefs, leading to conflicts and even failure. Increasing the number of studies in this area is recommended, where the views of both coaches and athletes are included in the same study, and both quantitative and mixed-methods approaches are employed by researchers. Moreover, in order to mitigate conflicts, joint training seminars can be organized for coaches and athletes to attend together, enabling both groups to develop empathy and better mutual understanding.


Coach, Metaphor, Athlete