Athletes' Evaluations of Their Head Coach's Coaching Competency

Article excerpt

This study provided initial validity evidence for multidimensional measures of coaching competency derived from the Coaching Competency Scale (CCS). Data were collected from intercollegiate men's (n = 8) and women's (n = 13) soccer and women's ice hockey teams (n = 11). The total number of athletes was 585. Within teams, a multidimensional internal model was retained in which motivation, game strategy, technique, and character building comprised the dimensions of coaching competency. Some redundancy among the dimensions was observed. Internal reliabilities ranged from very good to excellent. Practical recommendations for the CCS are given in the Discussion section.

Key words: coaching behavior, collegiate, hockey, soccer

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To date, much of the research in sport leadership has been directed toward identifying particular coaching styles that elicit successful performance and/or positive psychological responses from athletes (Horn, 2002). The two most prominent models of leadership effectiveness in sport, the Multidimensional Model of Leadership (Chelladurai, 1978) and the Mediational Model of Leadership (Smoll & Smith, 1989), have served as frameworks for much of the related research. Recently, Horn combined elements of both models to form a working model of coaching effectiveness.

Horn's (2002) model of coaching effectiveness is founded on at least three assumptions (see Figure 1). First, both contextual factors and personal characteristics of athletes influence a coach's behavior indirectly through a coach's expectancies, beliefs, and goals. Second, a coach's behavior directly affects athletes' perceptions and evaluations of a coach's behavior. Third, athletes' perceptions and evaluation of a coach's behavior mediate the influence of a coach's behavior on athletes' self-perceptions and attitudes, which in turn directly affects athletes' motivation and performance. Because athletes' perceptions and evaluation of a coach's behavior are believed to play a critical role in coaching effectiveness, a tool to assess athletes' evaluations of key coaching competencies is important to the continued improvement of coaching and further development of coaching effectiveness models.

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Review of Coaching Effectiveness Literature

Many instruments are designed to measure a coach's behavior. (1) The Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS; Smith, Smoll, & Hunt, 1977), the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS; Chelladurai & Saleh, 1978, 1980), and a Decision Style Questionnaire (DQS; Chelladurai & Arnott, 1985) are the most prominent. As reviewed by Horn (2002), these instruments have also been used to assess athletes' perceptions of their coach's behavior (e.g., how often does your coach use positive reinforcement with athletes?) and/or decision styles (e.g., what decision style would your coach employ to select a team captain?). None measure athletes' evaluations of their coach's behavior (e.g., how competent is your coach in teaching the skills of soccer?). While each instrument has contributed to understanding coaching behavior, Smoll and Smith (1989) noted that, "... the ultimate effects that coaching behavior exerts are mediated by the meaning that players attribute to them" (p. 1527)--effects these instruments do not measure.

Unlike the CBAS, INS, and DQS, the Coaching Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ; Rushall & Wiznuk, 1985) and Coaching Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ; Kenow & Williams, 1992) were designed to assess athletes' evaluative reactions to specific aspects of their coach's behavior. The CEQ allows athletes to evaluate a coach's ersonal qualities, personal and professional relationships, organizational skills, and performance as a teacher and coach. Although the items are suggested to measure separate constructs, scores are to be totaled across items or formed at the item-level (Rushall & Wiznuk). Psychometric evidence for the CEQ appears to be limited to item-level test-retest reliability. …