Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Coaching Confidence: An Exploratory Investigation of Sources and Gender Differences

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Coaching Confidence: An Exploratory Investigation of Sources and Gender Differences

Article excerpt

Administrators, parents, and athletes sometimes overlook coaches' confidence in their ability to coach. The assumption, especially at the collegiate level, is that coaches are "expelts" in their respective sports and are psychologically prepared for the demands of coaching. Considering the importance of the coach in determining the quality and success of an athlete's sport experience, surprisingly little research was found that identifies optimal coaching behaviors and factors that influence the effectiveness of particular behaviors (Kenow & Williams, 1999).

There is a considerable amount of literature describing the multidimensional and hierarchical nature of self-perceptions in sport. Self-efficacy (defined as one's belief in one's ability to successfully perform a specific behavior or set of behaviors required to obtain a certain outcome; Bandura, 1977) is a specific self-perception, and has been referred to as a situationally specific self-confidence (Feltz, 1988). Perceived competence (defined as the perception that one has the ability to master a task resulting from cumulative interactions with the environment; Nicholls, 1984) is considered a more general self-perception compared to self-efficacy. Although it has been argued that both self-efficacy and perceived competence refer to similar cognitive processes by which people make judgments about their capabilities to accomplish a particular goal in a sport or motor performance context (Feltz & Chase, 1998; Moritz, Feltz, Fahrbach, & Mack, 2000), this study differentiates between these terms because it is focused on comparing these conceptualizations. Confidence (defined as the firmness or strength of one's belief; Bandura, 1997) is used as an overarching concept that encompasses both efficacy and competence. When considered in this manner, one may wonder why two conceptualizations (efficacy and competence) are needed to describe the same construct - that of coaching confidence?

Coaching confidence is a relatively new name for an old construct in sport. In their model, Feltz, Chase, Moritz, and Sullivan (1999) defined coaching efficacy as the extent to which coaches believe they have the capacity to affect the learning and performance of their athletes. The four coaching efficacy dimensions that comprise coaching efficacy include: game strategy, motivation, teaching technique, and character building. Game strategy efficacy is the confidence coaches have in their ability to coach during competition and lead their team to a successful performance. Motivation efficacy involves the confidence coaches have in their ability to affect the psychological skills and states of their athletes. Technique efficacy is defined as the belief coaches have in their instructional and diagnostic skills. Character building efficacy involves the confidence coaches have in their ability to influence the personal development of a positive attitude toward sport in their athletes. Coaching efficacy is based on coaching experience and preparation, prior success, the perceived ability of athletes, and school/community support. In turn, coaching efficacy effects coaching behavior, and the satisfaction, performance, and efficacy beliefs of both players and teams. Support for these relationships was shown in Feltz et al. (1999)

An alternative conceptualization for coaching confidence is Barber's (1998) notion of coaching competence. The components of coaching competence included communication skills, ability to motivate athletes, ability to teach sport skills, knowledge of strategies and tactics, training and conditioning, practice and seasonal planning, and coaching during competition. The sources of coaching competence she considered were performance accomplishments, social comparison, and the use of significant others. Barber examined gender differences in sources of coaching competence and levels of perceived competence in specific coaching areas. The results showed that teaching sport skills" discriminated between female and male coaches; the mean for females was significantly higher than for males. …

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