The Coach’s Role in Creating Moral Group Norms in Youth Sport

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Though commonly emphasized by parents, coaches, and youth sport organizations, relatively little research exists with regard to morality in youth sport. In this Insights paper, we utilize Shields and Bredemeier’s 12-component model of moral action to help coaches become aware of how sport contextual influences, personal competencies, and ego-processing variables influence the moral behavior of their athletes. With insight from conversations with youth sport coaches, in addition to empirical and professional practice evidence, we provide coaches with three practical strategies they can use to: (a) consider how morality fits into their coaching philosophy, (b) create moral group norms within their teams, and (c) integrate moral decision-making into their practice plans.

Shigeno is with Sport and Health, Adler University, Chicago, IL. Lauer is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. Fisher, Johnson, and Zakrajsek are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

Address author correspondence to Terilyn C. Shigeno at tshigeno@adler.edu.
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