Coaches are important providers of social support, but what influences us to perceive our coaches as supportive or unsupportive? We investigated the extent to which perceptions of coach support reflect characteristics of athletes and coaches, as well as relational components. In three studies, athletes judged the actual or hypothetical supportiveness of various coaches. The methods of generalizability theory permitted us to conclude that perceptions of coach support primarily reflected relational components, with characteristics both of athletes and coaches also independently playing (lesser) roles. These findings suggest that athletes may systematically disagree on the supportiveness of their coaches.
Tim Rees, Paul Freeman, Steve Bell, and Ross Bunney are with Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, U.K.