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Laura J. Kenow

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was the first, and to date, the only women’s professional baseball league in United States history. Yet many people are unaware of the league’s existence. The purposes of this paper are to (1) review the historical and research literature on the AAGPBL, (2) examine the reflections on gender issues within this literature, and (3) discuss how these issues contributed to the success and failure of the AAGPBL. The published historical documentation and archived artifacts of the AAGPBL are quite thorough; however, research on the league is limited. Gender issues, such as the female apologetic, marginalization, and feminist reconstruction of sport are evident throughout the league’s existence. These issues enhanced the league’s success, but also contributed to its demise. The pioneering efforts of the women of the AAGPBL created a new vision of opportunity for girls and women in sport that still resonates today.

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Laura J. Kenow and Jean M. Williams

Two experiments examined Smoll and Smith’s (1989) model of leadership behaviors in sport. The coaching behaviors of a male head coach of a collegiate women’s basketball team (n=11 players) were examined. The data supported competitive trait anxiety as an individual-difference variable that mediates athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. There also was support for adding athletes’ state cognitive anxiety, state self-confidence, and perception of the coach’s cognitive anxiety to the model as individual-difference variables. Athletes who scored high in trait anxiety (p<.001) and state cognitive anxiety (p<.05) and low in state self-confidence (p<.05), and athletes who perceived the coach as high in state cognitive anxiety (p<.001), evaluated coaching behavior more negatively. Game outcome may influence the effect of self-confidence in mediating athletes’ perception and evaluation of coaching behaviors. Additionally, athletes perceived several specific coaching behaviors more negatively than did the coach, and athletes drastically overestimated their coach’s self-reported pregame cognitive and somatic anxiety and underestimated his self-confidence. Overall, the results suggest that coaches should be more supportive and less negative with high anxious and low self-confident athletes.

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Jean M. Williams, Laura J. Kenow, Gerald J. Jerome, Tracie Rogers, Tessa A. Sartain and Greg Darland

Little research exists to identify optimal coaching behaviors and factors that influence the effectiveness of particular behaviors. The present study tested 484 athletes in order to determine sub-scales on the Coaching Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). The CBQ measures athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors and evaluates their effectiveness in helping athletes play better and maintain optimal mental states and focus. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) supported the two-factor model (negative activation, supportiveness/emotional composure) derived from an exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Correlational analyses indicated that athletes with higher anxiety and lower self-confidence and compatibility with the coach were more likely to negatively evaluate coaching behaviors. The results support and expand on Smoll and Smith’s (1989) model of leadership behaviors in sport.