This study examined, from a developmental perspective, how coaching feedback serves as an ability cue. Boys and girls (N = 60) comprising 2 age groups (6-8, 12-14) viewed videotapes of youth athletes attempting to hit a baseball or softball, followed by a coach who provided evaluative, informational, or neutral feedback. Participants then rated each athlete’s ability, effort, and future expectancy of success. Separate 2 × 2 × 3 (age × gender × feedback type) repeated measures MANOVAs were conducted for the successful and unsuccessful outcome conditions. Following successful attempts, both older and younger children rated praise higher than neutral and informational feedback as a source of ability information. Athletes receiving informational feedback following unsuccessful attempts were rated highest, followed by neutral feedback and criticism. Open-ended questions revealed some age-related differences in use of ability information. Results are discussed in relation to research on sources of competence information and coaching feedback.
Anthony J. Amorose and Maureen R. Weiss are with the Health and Physical Education Program Area, Department of Human Services, University of Virginia, B016 Memorial Gymnasium, Charlottesville, VA 22903.