Megan M. Buning
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.