The Relationship Between Coach Expectations and Female Softball Athletes’ Motivation and Perceptions of Coach Behavior

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Megan M. BuningAugusta University

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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between coach expectations, female athletes’ perceptions of coach behavior, and motivation to play softball, and to observe changes in perceptions of behavior and motivation by expectancy group. Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000) was used as a guide. Participants were randomly selected from Division I softball teams competing in the United States (n = 20). Head coaches (n = 20) completed evaluations rating expectations of athletes’ performance ability, and athletes (n = 148) self-reported motivation and perceived coaching behaviors pre- and post-study. Cluster analysis distinguished between three expectancy groups based from coach expectation ratings: High, low, and average. Pearson’s r revealed weak relationships between coach expectancy ratings, perceived coaching behaviors, and motivation. Split-plot analysis of variance tests revealed expectancy groups perceived behaviors differently and were motivated differently. Low expectancy athletes perceived more non-rewarding behaviors, less positive behaviors, and were more non-self-determined to play softball. Overall, coaches were perceived as mostly positive.

The author is with the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation, Augusta University, Augusta, GA.

Address author correspondence to Megan M. Buning at mbuning@augusta.edu.
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