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Kelly S. Witte

The main purpose of this article is to present a student-centered learning approach for developing a working coaching philosophy. The strategy provided is appropriate for coaching educators to use with students as well as practicing coaches to reflect on their own development through personal experience and practice. It stems from the constructivist approach to learning and guides the reader or student through an active process of recollection, reflection, and critical thinking. During this progression, a personal construct of understanding is created from impact moments that have occurred to-date involving their sport and/or coaching experiences which shape their own philosophy.

Open access

Kelly S. Witte

The purpose of this study was to identify and compare coaching leadership preferences of 1,859 varsity student-athletes participating at the Division III level in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The athletes attended one of fourteen colleges and universities located in the Midwest. Teams were selected according to task dependence and the existence of both male and female squads. Three independent (individual) sports and three interdependent (team) sports were selected: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s baseball and women’s softball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track & field. The Revised Leadership Scale for Sport (Zhang, Jensen, & Mann, 1997) was used to assess participants’ leadership preferences on the dimensions of training and instruction behavior, democratic behavior, autocratic behavior, social support behavior, positive feedback behavior, and situational consideration behavior. Females had a higher preference for positive feedback and situational consideration, whereas males expressed stronger preferences for social support and autocratic behavior. Individual sport athletes demonstrated a higher preference for democratic behavior, positive feedback, training and instruction, situational consideration, and social support than did team sport athletes and team sport athletes preferred autocratic behavior more than athletes participating in individual sports. The gender by task dependence interaction was not significant. These results suggest that differences in athletes and particular sports teams may facilitate specific leadership behaviors

Open access

Kelly S. Witte, Teri J. Hepler and Tiffany Morton

This study was designed to give coaches insight into the motivation, and self-determination of players who have different roles on the team to ultimately assist with recruiting, retention, coaching preferences, and/or leadership adjustments. The purpose of this project was to examine what motivates and drives NCAA Division III female basketball athletes to compete and continue to work hard every day without the incentive of scholarships. Specifically, we compared the motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic) and self-determination of players in different roles: starters, substitutes, and “benchwarmers.” Female intercollegiate basketball players (N = 53) from 8 public universities participated in the study. At the end of the season, participants completed a survey addressing their motivation and self-determination in basketball. Motivation and self-determination were measured by modified versions of the Self-Regulation Questionnaire- Exercise and the Self-Determination Scale, respectively. Moreover, based on the self-reported average playing time, participants were categorized as starters (20 or more minutes), subs (6-20 minutes), or benchwarmers (0-5 minutes). The three playing status groups were then compared on various aspects of motivation and self-determination. In terms of motivation, benchwarmers tended to score higher than starters and subs on items most related to intrinsic motivation (e.g., intrinsic motivation, identified regulation). However a one-way MANOVA indicated no significant differences in motivation based on playing status, F (8, 94) = 1.13, p = .35. The means of the benchwarmers, subs, and starters were quite similar on the selfdetermination subscales of perceived choice and self-awareness. Likewise, the results of a oneway MANOVA revealed no significant differences between benchwarmers, subs, and starters in perceived choice or self-awareness, F (4, 98) = 0.58, p = .68. While no significant statistical differences were discovered, bench warmers did tend to score higher on intrinsic motivation than did their counterparts who averaged more playing time. This trend should not be overlooked simply because there were no statistically significant differences, which may be due to a small sample size. Understanding what motivates all athletes regardless of playing status is an important step to improving performance, satisfaction, and retention of Division III athletes. For instance, knowing what drives the benchwarmer is important for coaches because these players are responsible for challenging the starters in practice and preparing them for the other team. Likewise, benchwarmers also act as an important source of support during competition. Moreover, coaches should seek opportunities to enhance the intrinsic motivation of subs and starters, as participating in Division III lacks some of the major external rewards such as scholarships and other incentives that come with playing at Division I or II.