Behavioral coaching has recently been found effective in developing a variety of sports skills in children, adolescents, and adults. These studies have relied on adult coaches using various behavioral techniques to develop sports skills. The present study attempted to extend these findings by substituting a peer coach for an experienced coach. The subjects were nine boys, ages 8 to 10, identified by the head coach as being deficit in three soccer skills: heading the ball, throw-ins, and goal kicking. The effects of a conventional form of coaching was compared to the behavioral one when each was conducted by the peer coach. The behavioral method included: (a) systematic use of verbal instructions and feedback, (b) positive and negative reinforcement, (c) positive practice, and (d) time out. A multiple baseline design across individuals, a reversal, and a changing criterion design were employed to evaluate the behavioral method. The results show a two- or threefold increase in soccer skill performance when behavioral coaching was used. The results were consistent for all nine players. The peer coach was found to be an effective instructor and trainer, thus demonstrating the versatility of the behavioral coaching method and the usefulness of a peer coach in extending the efforts of the head coach.
A portion of this article was presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting during the Spring of 1981 in New Orleans. The authors thank Cliff Ivers for his assistance in assessing reliability of the various soccer skills, and wish to acknowledge the cooperation and encouragement of the Decatur-DeKalb, GA, YMCA athletic staff.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Teodoro Ayllon, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.