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Colin D. McLaren and Kevin S. Spink

Past research in sport has identified a relationship between communication as a social property (i.e., acceptance, distinctiveness, positive conflict, and negative conflict) and task cohesion. Operationalizing communication in this manner is viewing the construct through a social lens. Given that forming task-cohesion perceptions also might be linked to how members exchange information, examining the relationship between communication as information exchange and cohesion appears worthwhile. Results from a hierarchical regression (N = 176) revealed that team member communication as both a social property and information exchange positively predicted perceived task cohesion while controlling for team performance (Radj2=.52). Relevant to the study purpose, it was found that communication as information exchange not only contributed unique variance to task cohesion after controlling for communication as a social property and team performance, β = 0.32, sr (semipartial correlation) = .24, but also resulted in a reallocation in variance from the previously significant communication social properties predicting task cohesion.

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Colin D. McLaren and Kevin S. Spink

Emerging evidence suggests that team success is associated with communication among group members. This study built on those findings by examining the degree to which members on a winning (n = 13) and a losing (n = 13) men’s soccer team exchanged task-related information during a single head-to-head game. Social network analysis was used to compute athlete information exchange at the individual and team levels by asking players to identify the specific members with whom they exchanged information during the game. As hypothesized, athletes on the winning team had higher average individual degree centrality and higher network-density scores than athletes on the losing team. This indicates that individual members on the winning team exchanged task-related information with more of their teammates and, as a result, engaged in more collective information exchange as a team. While replication is necessary to increase generalizability, this study suggests a possible link between the degree that team members exchange information (at the individual and team level) and team performance outcome (i.e., win or loss).

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Jordan D. Herbison, Luc J. Martin, Alex J. Benson, Colin D. McLaren, Richard B. Slatcher, Ian D. Boardley, Jordan Sutcliffe, Jean Côté, Justin M. Carré, and Mark W. Bruner

This study used ecological sampling methods to examine associations between youth athletes’ experiences receiving and engaging in behaviors indicative of in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect (i.e., social identity) during a 3-day competitive ice hockey tournament. Forty-five youth (M age = 12.39 years; SD age = 1.14 years; 94% male) from nine teams wore an electronically activated recorder that captured brief (50-s) audio observations throughout the tournament. Participants also completed daily diary questionnaires for each day of competition. Multilevel structural equation modeling demonstrated that athletes were more likely to engage in behaviors indicative of in-group affect and cognitive centrality on days when they received as higher-than-average frequency of behaviors indicative of cognitive centrality from teammates, coaches, and parents. The findings suggest that when team members interact in ways that demonstrate they are thinking about their team, they influence fellow members to behave in ways that promote a sense of “us.”

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Rachel A. Van Woezik, Colin D. McLaren, Jean Côté, Karl Erickson, Barbi Law, Denyse Lafrance Horning, Bettina Callary, and Mark W. Bruner

In an ever-evolving society, sport coaches are presented with a number of avenues through which they can acquire and refine their coaching knowledge. The purpose of this research was to replicate and extend past research to gain an up-to-date understanding of how coaches are presently gaining knowledge. This was done through a constructive replication using a sequential explanatory mixed-method design. Study 1 included 798 coaches who completed an online questionnaire detailing their use of 16 sources of coaching knowledge. Coaches’ top three most used sources were interacting with coaches, learning by doing, and observing others. In contrast, the top three most preferred sources were observing others, interacting with coaches, and having a mentor. To contextualize these findings, Study 2 used a qualitative design in which 14 coaches were interviewed to understand their experiences with different knowledge sources. Five distinct narrative types were identified: recent elite athletes, parent coaches, coach developers, teacher coaches, and experienced coaches. Coaches reported engaging in more social and unstructured learning experiences, and the reasons for their preferences appeared to differ based on lifestyle and perceived barriers. Collectively, these findings highlight how coaches gain knowledge and why they prefer certain sources over others.