This study examined perceptions of ability and affective experiences of female coaches (N=28) following a hands-on coaching internship. Coaches were interviewed regarding the internship's positive and negative aspects and their perceived strengths and weaknesses. Using qualitative research methods, quotes were drawn from the interview transcripts and submitted to an inductive content analysis. Major themes characterizing the positive aspects of the internship were satisfaction of working with kids, development of coaching skills, social support, and fun; themes related to negative aspects of the experience were negative interactions with mentor coach, excessive time demands, low perceptions of competence, negative relationships with athletes, lack of administrative support, and overemphasis on winning. Perceived coaching strengths included major themes of interpersonal communication, motivation, teaching skills, knowledge of the game, discipline, and balance of work and fun. Weaknesses were identified as inadequate sport-related knowledge and skills, leadership skills, planning and management skills, physical skills, and injury-prevention and maintenance skills. Implications of these findings for recruiting, educating, and retaining coaches are made.
M.R. Weiss and B.L. Sisley are with the Department of Exercise and Movement Science at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. V. Ebbeck is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97330. H. Barber is now at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58201.