Organized youth sports afford a unique opportunity for promoting positive youth development, but little is known about why these settings can be beneficial for youth. The purposes of this article are (a) to discuss the instrumental role coaches play in determining the developmental yield of sport participation for youth and (b) to examine the efficacy of coach training programs for enhancing youth development in light of an expanded model of coaching effects on youth. This model features an elaborated internalization mechanism involving cognitive and motivational pathways. Emerging support for this model is reviewed and future directions for coach training researchers and practitioners are highlighted.
David E. Conroy and J. Douglas Coatsworth
Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll and Sean P. Cumming
The mastery approach to coaching is a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to promote a mastery-involving motivational climate, shown in previous research to be related to lower anxiety in athletes. We tested the effects of this intervention on motivational climate and on changes in male and female athletes’ cognitive and somatic performance anxiety over the course of a basketball season. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that the athletes in the intervention condition perceived their coaches as being more mastery-involving on the Motivational Climate Scale for Youth Sports when compared to athletes in an untreated control condition. Relative to athletes who played for untrained coaches, those who played for the trained coaches exhibited decreases on all subscales of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 and on total anxiety score from preseason to late season. Control group athletes reported increases in anxiety over the season. The intervention had equally positive effects on boys and girls teams.
Frank L. Smoll, Ronald E. Smith and Sean P. Cumming
Mastery-oriented motivational climates and achievement goal orientations have been associated with a range of salutary and clinically relevant outcomes in both educational and sport research. In view of this, an intervention was developed for youth sport coaches designed to promote a mastery motivational climate, and a field experiment was conducted to assess its effects on changes in athletes’ achievement goal orientations over the course of a sport season. The experimental group was comprised of 155 boys and girls, who played for 20 basketball coaches; 70 youngsters played for 17 control group coaches. The coach intervention resulted in higher Mastery-climate scores and lower Ego-climate scores compared with the control condition, and athletes who played for the trained coaches exhibited significant increases in Mastery goal orientation scores and significant decreases in Ego-orientation scores across the season, whereas control group participants did not. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.
Susumu Iwasaki and Mary D. Fry
This study highlights how sport psychology professionals can assist sport administrators in evaluating and strengthening youth sport programs. A sport psychology research team provided expertise to two sport administrators to develop a survey to examine their athletes’ experiences participating in the programs. The study examines the relationship between athletes’ perceptions of the climate (caring, task, and ego involving) to their intrinsic motivation, caring behaviors, and future intention to participate in the sport. Volleyball clinic (Sample 1: N = 71) and basketball summer camp (Sample 2: N = 138) participants completed the survey. Canonical correlation analyses for each sample revealed one significant function indicating that the athletes’ perceptions of a caring/task-involving climate, along with low perceptions of an ego-involving climate, were associated with higher levels of intrinsic motivation, caring behaviors, and future desire to participate. Sport administrators can use this information for coach training, parent education and overall program evaluation.
Jean Côté and John H. Salmela
The purpose of this study was to report the knowledge used by expert high-performance gymnastic coaches in the organization of training and competition. In-depth interviews were conducted with 9 coaches who worked with male gymnasts and 8 coaches who worked with female gymnasts. Qualitative analyses showed that coaches of males and coaches of females planned training similarly, except that coaches of females appeared to emphasize esthetic and nutritional issues to a greater extent. Coaches of males revealed more concerns about the organization of gymnasts’ physical conditioning. Analysis indicated that expert gymnastic coaches of males and females are constantly involved in dynamic social interactions with gymnasts, parents, and assistant coaches. Many areas of coaches’ organizational work, such as dealing with the athletes’ personal concerns and working with parents, are not part of the structure of coaches’ training programs and emerged as crucial tasks of expert gymnastic coaches for developing elite gymnasts.
Kristine L. Chambers and Joan N. Vickers
The effects of a coaching intervention involving Bandwidth Feedback and Questioning (BF-Q) on competitive swim times (cTIME), practice swim times (pTIME), and technique (TECH) were determined for competitive youth swimmers. The pre-post-transfer design spanned one short-course (25m) swim season. It was concluded that coaching in which feedback was delayed and replaced with questions directed to the athletes contributed to improved technique and subsequent faster race times. Compared to the Control group, the BF-Q group displayed greater gains in TECH during the intervention period and greater improvement in cTIME during the transfer period. Results are presented in a context of cognitive psychology, motor learning, and questioning. Applications to coaching practice and coach training are also discussed.
Ineke Vergeer and John M. Hogg
This study aimed to examine the effects of four situational factors on coaches’ decisions about an injured athlete’s participation in competition. A telephone survey was conducted among 64 coaches training female gymnasts of various competitive levels. Coaches were presented with hypothetical scenarios depicting situations in which an athlete suffered an ankle injury prior to competition. Injury severity, the gymnast’s age and ability level, and importance of the competition were systematically varied in a total of 16 scenarios. Using a multilinear polynomial model (Louvière. 1988), decision policies were calculated at the individual and aggregate levels. The aggregate level analysis showed a four-way interaction effect. Cluster analysis on individual policies revealed two groups, membership of which was associated with personal injury history. Results suggest that in their decision making, coaches are sensitive to the unique situational characteristics surrounding the injury and are influenced by their personal experiences with competing while injured.
Jessica Fraser-Thomas and Jean Côté
The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of adolescents’ positive and negative developmental experiences in sport. Twenty-two purposefully sampled adolescent competitive swimmers participated in a semistructured qualitative interview. Content analysis led to the organization of meaning units into themes and categories (Patton, 2002). Athletes suggested their sport involvement facilitated many positive developmental experiences (i.e., related to challenge, meaningful adult and peer relationships, a sense of community, and other life experiences) and some negative developmental experiences (i.e., related to poor coach relationships, negative peer influences, parent pressure, and the challenging psychological environment of competitive sport). Findings underline the important roles of sport programmers, clubs, coaches, and parents in facilitating youths’ positive developmental experiences in sport, while highlighting numerous important directions for future research. Implications for coach training and practice are outlined.
Joëlle Carpentier and Geneviève A. Mageau
Change-oriented feedback (COF) quality is predictive of between-athletes differences in their sport experience (Carpentier & Mageau, 2013). This study extends these findings by investigating how training-to-training variations in COF quality influence athletes’ training experience (within-athlete differences) while controlling for the impact of promotion-oriented feedback (POF). In total, 49 athletes completed a diary after 15 consecutive training sessions to assess COF and POF received during training, as well as situational outcomes. Multivariate multilevel analyses showed that, when controlling for covariates, COF quality during a specific training session is positively linked to athletes’ autonomous motivation, self-confidence and satisfaction of their psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness during the same session. In contrast, COF quantity is negatively linked to athletes’ need for competence. POF quality is a significant positive predictor of athletes’ self-confidence and needs for autonomy and competence. Contributions to the feedback and SDT literature, and for coaches’ training, are discussed.
Gordon A. Bloom, Rebecca Crumpton and Jenise E. Anderson
A systematic observation analysis was performed on Fresno State men’s basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian over the course of an entire season. Based on Tharp and Gallimore’s (1976) work and recent research on expert coaches’ training techniques (Côté et al., 1995; Durand-Bush, 1996), the Revised Coaching Behavior Recording Form was created to observe and record Tarkanian’s teaching behaviors and verbal cues. Results showed that tactical instructions was the most frequently occurring variable, representing 29% of the coded behaviors. This behavior was 13% higher than the second highest variable, hustles (16%). Following these two categories were technical instruction (13.9%), praise\encouragement (13.6%), general instructions (12%), scolds (6%), and six other categories with percentages less than 3%. This means that almost one-third of Coach Tarkanian’s practice behaviors relate to teaching offensive and defensive strategies to his team. This differs from the practice sessions of beginner- and intermediate-level coaches, who often focus on teaching fundamental skills to their athletes. A complete description of all 12 categories are provided along with implications for coaches of all levels.