Sport Knowledge: The Effects of Division I Coach Communication on Student-Athlete Learning Indicators

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 School of Communication, Chapman University, Orange, CA, USA
  • | 2 College of Behavioral, Social and Health Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
  • | 3 Department of Communication, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
  • | 4 Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA
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Sporting environments are informal contexts of learning that are dependent upon coaches’ use of effective instructional communication strategies. Coaches’ use of power while communicating instruction to athletes is especially germane, as coaches must appropriately use relational influence to inspire optimal athletic performance. Using French and Raven’s power bases (i.e., expert, referent, reward, legitimate, and coercive power), this study considers Division I student-athletes’ reports of affective learning for their sport and coaches, cognitive learning, state motivation, and team winning percentages as a function of their coaches’ use of power. Data collected from 170 student-athletes participating in team sports at Power 5 institutions revealed two significant canonical correlation roots. The first demonstrated that the increased use of prosocial power and avoidance of antisocial power were associated with greater amounts of affective learning for coaches, cognitive learning, and state motivation. The second revealed that expert power was associated with increases in cognitive learning and winning. This research has heuristic implications for expanding the assessment of athlete experience, as well as practical implications regarding the identification of effective modes of relational influence in coaching.

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