This study was designed to identify issues and concerns involved in contemporary school sports that are perceived as influencing sports’ potential to achieve educational and developmental objectives (e.g., psychosocial and life skill development). Eleven focus group interviews involving 67 participants were conducted with key constituency groups involved in high school athletics (coaches n=14, athletic directors n=20, school principals n=11, parents of current high school athletes n=11, and student-athletes n=21). Results were content analyzed using a three-person inductive consensus procedure and triangulated across constituency groups. Issues identified as concerns included: inappropriate behaviors in high school sport, increased expectations for success, ramifications of over-commitment, health issues, coaching and administrative issues, and unmet affiliation needs of athletes which impact the motivation. Findings are discussed relative to the professionalization of scholastic sports and threats to its developmental and educational potential. Implications for coaching education are emphasized.
Daniel Gould, Sarah Carson, Angela Fifer, Larry Lauer, and Robert Benham
Krisha Parker, Daniel Czech, Trey Burdette, Jonathan Stewart, David Biber, Lauren Easton, Caitlyn Pecinovsky, Sarah Carson, and Tyler McDaniel
With over 50 million youth athletes participating in some kind of sports in the United States alone, it is important to realize the impact and benefits of playing (Weinberg and Gould, 2011). Physically, sports can help youth improve strength, endurance, weight control, and bone structure (Seefeldt, Ewing & Walk, 1992). Sport participation also benefits youths socially (Seefeldt, Ewing & Walk, 1992) and academically (Fraser-Thomas, Côté & Deakin, 2005). Optimal coaching education and training is a necessity if young athletes are to learn and improve in these aforementioned areas. In order for youth to grow from their sport experience, they need guidance from coaches, parents, and other important figures. Recent research by Jones, Jo and Martin (2007) suggests that more recent generations require a new approach to learning. The purpose of the current study was to qualitatively examine the preferred coaching styles of youth soccer players from Generation Z. After interviewing 10 youth athletes (five male, five female), four main themes emerged for Generation Z’s view of a “great coach.” These themes reflected the desire for a coach that: 1) does not yell and remains calm, 2) is caring and encouraging, 3) has knowledge of the sport, and 4) involves the team in decision making. Future research could include implementing a mixed-methodological approach incorporating the Leadership Scale for Sport (Chelladurai, 1984). Another avenue worthy of investigation is the role that technology plays for Generation Z athletes.