Behavioral Coaching of Track Athletes With Developmental Disabilities: Evaluation of Sprint Performance During Training and Special Olympics Competition

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
Restricted access

We evaluated several behavioral coaching procedures with two young adults who had intellectual and developmental disabilities and were preparing for a Special Olympics track event. The primary dependent measure was their time running a 100 m sprint. Following a baseline phase, the athletes were coached to improve sprint times through different combinations of goal setting, performance feedback, positive reinforcement, and video modeling. In a sequential design, the average sprint time of both athletes was lower during intervention conditions compared with baseline. Following intervention, they ran faster than their baseline average in competition at a regional Special Olympics event. We discuss intervention and research issues in behavioral coaching of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At the time of this submission, all the authors were with the May Institute in Randolph, MA, USA. Currently, Neelima G. Duncan is affiliated with University of Southern Mississippi; Elizabeth Godbold Nelson is affiliated with Louisiana State University; Kathryn E. Woods is affiliated with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.