paper is to summarize what we have learned over the past 4 decades about the impact of coaches’ feedback in the youth sport setting. In particular, four primary keys to effective feedback are identified. Each key is based on empirical research studies but also linked to theories in the social
Anthony J. Amorose and Maureen R. Weiss
This study examined, from a developmental perspective, how coaching feedback serves as an ability cue. Boys and girls (N = 60) comprising 2 age groups (6-8, 12-14) viewed videotapes of youth athletes attempting to hit a baseball or softball, followed by a coach who provided evaluative, informational, or neutral feedback. Participants then rated each athlete’s ability, effort, and future expectancy of success. Separate 2 × 2 × 3 (age × gender × feedback type) repeated measures MANOVAs were conducted for the successful and unsuccessful outcome conditions. Following successful attempts, both older and younger children rated praise higher than neutral and informational feedback as a source of ability information. Athletes receiving informational feedback following unsuccessful attempts were rated highest, followed by neutral feedback and criticism. Open-ended questions revealed some age-related differences in use of ability information. Results are discussed in relation to research on sources of competence information and coaching feedback.
Justine B. Allen and Bruce L. Howe
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between athlete ability and coach feedback with perceived competence and satisfaction among female adolescent athletes. Athletes (N = 123) reported their perceptions of coaches' use of feedback, their own field hockey competence, and satisfaction with the coach and team involvement. In addition, coaches' ratings of athletes' ability were obtained. Analyses revealed that both ability and coach feedback were significantly related to perceived competence and satisfaction. Specifically, a hierarchical regression analysis revealed that higher ability, more frequent praise and information, and less frequent encouragement and corrective information were related to higher perceived competence. Further, a canonical correlation analysis revealed that higher ability, frequent praise and information after a good performance, and frequent encouragement and corrective information after an error were associated with greater satisfaction with the coach and team involvement. The results are discussed in relation to Harter's (1978) competence motivation theory).
Daniel S. Kirschenbaum and Robert J. Smith
In this study, experimenters (pseudo-coaches) provided feedback that varied in valence, sequence, and amount to 50 male college students. A laboratory analogue paradigm was used that included a basketball-like underhand free throw task in which subjects first were instructed on proper technique and then took 10 baseline shots (trials) followed by 2 blocks of 20 trials each. Subjects were randomly assigned. Some interacted with a pseudo-coach who made no comments during the two experimental trial blocks (control), while others received feedback (6-8 comments per trial block) that was response-specific, emotionally oriented, and provided in one of four sequences: positive-positive, negative-negative, positive-negative, or negative-positive. Based on prior research on coach behavior and social psychological studies of interpersonal behavior, we hypothesized that both of the continuous feedback groups would show performance decrements and associated reactions to the coach and the task. These predictions were supported regarding performance and, to some extent, regarding a measure of sustained self-observation. Discussion includes interpretation of the nominally superior performance of the control group, the nonsignificant results on the subjective evaluation measures, and implications of these findings in view of external validity criteria and prior analyses in the emerging behavioral technology of coaching.
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.
K. Michelle Hume, Garry L. Martin, Patricia Gonzalez, Clayton Cracklen, and Sheldon Genthon
Behavioral coaching techniques consisting of instructions, a self-monitoring checklist, and coach feedback were examined at freestyle practice sessions with three female prenovice figure skaters. These techniques were compared to normal coaching procedures for their effects on the frequency of jumps and spins performed, the number of times a skater practiced a routine to music, and the amount of time spent engaging in off-task behaviors during 45-min free-skating sessions. Within a reversal-replication design, the behavioral coaching techniques produced considerable improvement on all dependent measures. Social validation measures indicated that the procedures improved quality of skating and were rated positively by the coach and by two of the three skaters.
Maureen R. Weiss, Anthony J. Amorose, and Anna Marie Wilko
Based on Harter’s (12,13) competence motivation theory, this study examined the relationship of coaches’ performance feedback and motivational climate with female athletes’ perceived competence, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. Female adolescent soccer players (N = 141) completed measures of relevant constructs toward the latter part of their season. Canonical correlation analysis revealed that athletes’ perceptions of greater positive and informational feedback given by coaches in response to successful performance attempts, greater emphasis placed on a mastery climate, and less emphasis placed on a performance climate, were significantly related to greater ability perceptions, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. Exploratory analyses also showed that the relationship between feedback and the psychosocial outcomes may vary as a function of the perceived motivational climate. Overall, these results suggest that coaching feedback and motivational climate are important contributors to explaining adolescent females’ continued motivation to participate in sport.
Lindsey C. Blom, Steven R. Wininger, Rebecca Zakraj sek, and Kurtis Kirkpatrick
To help develop consistent training for coaches, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education created the National Standards for Sport Coaches (NSSC), which consists of eight domains and 40 standards. The purpose of this study was to examine high school coaches’ perceived knowledge related to the NSSC, continuing education, and sources of feedback. Information was gathered from 162 male and female team sport coaches from Mississippi and Kentucky. Four main findings emerged: 1) coaches perceived themselves to be above average in all 40 standards; 2) there were no significant differences between states of Kentucky and Mississippi for perceived knowledge in any domain 3) a difference in perceived knowledge based on years of coaching was found for Domain 5: Teaching and Communication; and 4) coaches reported most frequently using assistant coaches, their self, athletic directors, and athletes as sources of coaching feedback.
S. Jill Black and Maureen R. Weiss
Based on Barter's competence motivation theory, this study examined the relationships between perceived coaching behaviors and (a) perceptions of ability and (b) motivation in competitive age-group swimmers. Male and female athletes (N=312) assessed their coaches' behaviors and their own ability and motivation using self-report measures. Multivariate analyses indicated that significant relationships were found for males, females, 12–14-year-olds, and 15-18-year-olds. Variables contributing most importantly to the relationships differed depending upon gender and age group. In general, coaches who were perceived as giving more frequent information following desirable performances, and more frequent encouragement combined with information following undesirable performances, were associated with athletes who perceived higher levels of success, competence, enjoyment, and preference for optimally challenging activities. These results indicate that young athletes' self-perceptions and motivation are significantly related to the quantity and quality of coaching feedback they receive for performance successes and errors.
Katrina Wynnyk and Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore children with disabilities’ social relationships and motivation to take part in sledge hockey. Harter’s (1978) theory of Competence Motivation was used as the conceptual framework. Ten children (1 girl and 9 boys) between ages 11–16 years, who experienced a range of disabilities, participated. Primary data were collected using semistructured interviews, participant observations, and field and reflective notes. The thematic analysis led to four themes: (a) coach feedback, (b) parental involvement, (c) skill and belonging, and (d) (dis)ability sport. The findings revealed that interactions with significant others contributed extensively to the participant’s perceptions of competence and motivation to participate, as did the sport’s competitive nature. The findings are discussed in the context of Harter’s theory and the children’s sport and adapted physical activity inclusion literature.