The present study examined the problem of coaching attrition in youth sports by asking former coaches why they quit. Also, dropout and current coaches were compared on demographic characteristics, coaching orientations, self-ratings of coaching abilities, and attitudes toward program policies. Current (n = 159) and dropout (n = 97) coaches associated with a youth sports agency responded to a background questionnaire and a coaching orientations and preferred outcomes questionnaire. Dropout coaches also completed a questionnaire to assess the reasons why they quite coaching. Multiple reasons were cited: time involvement, conflicts with job, child no longer participating, loss of motivation, problems with unqualified officiating, and dissatisfaction with program philosophy. Current and dropout coaches were similar on demographic characteristics and coaching orientations but differed on preferred coaching outcomes. Recommendations for retaining youth coaches, and thus coaching continuity for the kids, included enhancing the quality of officiating, providing coaching clinics, and soliciting input from coaches and parents regarding program philosophy and policies.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Manfred Tschan and Anne Donahue for their work in soliciting coaches and in data coding. In addition, we would like to thank the youth sport agencies involved and the recommendations made by the youth sport experts on the dropout questionnaire.
Direct all correspondence to Maureen Weiss, Dept. of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.