Athletes’ Perceived Use of Information Sources When Forming Initial Impressions and Expectancies of a Coach: An Explorative Study

in The Sport Psychologist
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The study aimed to identify the sources of information that athletes perceive as influential during their initial evaluation of coaching ability. University athletes (N = 538) were asked to indicate the influence of 31 informational cues (e.g., gender, body language or gestures, reputation) on the initial impression formed of a coach. Following exploratory factor analysis, a 3-factor model (i.e., static cues, dynamic cues, and third-party reports) was extracted. Mean scores revealed that although static cues (e.g., gender, race or ethnicity) were rated as relatively unimportant during impression formation, dynamic cues (e.g., facial expressions, body language or gestures) and third-party reports (e.g., coaching qualifications, reputation) were viewed by athletes as influential factors in the formation of expectancies about coaches. Such findings have implications for the occurrence of expectancy effects in coach-athlete relationships and the way in which coaches seek to present themselves.

Manley, Greenlees, Graydon, and Smith are with the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6PE, UK. Thelwell is with the Sport & Exercise Dept., University of Portsmouth, Hampshire, P01 2ER, UK. Filby is with the Chelsea School, University of Brighton, Hillbrow, Eastbourne, BN20 7SR, UK.