Pygmalion in Youth Sport: A Field Study

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Wake Forest University
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To determine whether the “pygmalion effect” operated in youth sport, a total sample of 14 coaches and 71 male youth league basketball players ranging in age from 8 to 12 were evaluated in naturalistic settings. Coach-player interactions were observed for both high and low expectancy children with the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS) as an observational tool. Results demonstrated that whereas high expectancy children received more reinforcement, low expectancy children experienced fewer incidences of nonreinforcement and received more general technical instruction. Findings were discussed from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

The data for this investigation were collected in conjunction with the second author's master's thesis. A sincere note of thanks is extended to the West Central Community League, Winston-Salem, NC, for making this study possible. Reprint requests should be sent to Walter Rejeski, Psychomotor Program, Box 7234, Reynolda Station, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.

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