Relationship between Anxiety, Self-Confidence, and Evaluation of Coaching Behaviors

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Laura J. Kenow Linfield College

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Jean M. Williams University of Arizona

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Two experiments examined Smoll and Smith’s (1989) model of leadership behaviors in sport. The coaching behaviors of a male head coach of a collegiate women’s basketball team (n=11 players) were examined. The data supported competitive trait anxiety as an individual-difference variable that mediates athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. There also was support for adding athletes’ state cognitive anxiety, state self-confidence, and perception of the coach’s cognitive anxiety to the model as individual-difference variables. Athletes who scored high in trait anxiety (p<.001) and state cognitive anxiety (p<.05) and low in state self-confidence (p<.05), and athletes who perceived the coach as high in state cognitive anxiety (p<.001), evaluated coaching behavior more negatively. Game outcome may influence the effect of self-confidence in mediating athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. Additionally, athletes perceived several specific coaching behaviors more negatively than did the coach, and athletes drastically overestimated their coach’s self-reported pregame cognitive and somatic anxiety and underestimated his self-confidence. Overall, the results suggest that coaches should be more supportive and less negative with high anxious and low self-confident athletes.

L.J. Kenow is with the Dept. of Health, Human Performance and Athletics at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR 97128. J.M. Williams is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

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