Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

The Relationship between Perceived Coaching Behaviors, Intrinsic Motivation, and Scholarship Status on NCAA Division I Tennis Players' Sport Commitment

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

The Relationship between Perceived Coaching Behaviors, Intrinsic Motivation, and Scholarship Status on NCAA Division I Tennis Players' Sport Commitment

Article excerpt

The well-being of intercollegiate student-athletes has become an area of interest in recent years (Kamusoko & Pemberton, 2011 ; Wolanin, Hong, Marks, Panchoo, & Gross, 2016). Particularly, a few studies have investigated whether specific coaching behaviors and athletes' intrinsic motivation can facilitate increased sport commitment among intercollegiate athletes (Gould & Whitley, 2009; Soyer, Sari, & Talaghir, 2014). Findings revealed that student-athletes' sport commitment can be negatively affected by pressure to produce outcomes, consequences of performing under pressure, and resulting burnout commonly experienced due to intense athletic and academic demands (Gould & Whitley, 2009). On the contrary, researchers have linked positive coaching behaviors to increased sport commitment in athletes (Fry & Gano-Overway, 2010; Minoo, Nasser, & Misagh, 2014). It is important to investigate and understand a collegiate varsity athlete's motivation for sport participation and what factors contribute to sport commitment levels. Understanding key predictors of an athlete's sport commitment would allow coaches to execute specific leadership behaviors demanded by their athletes, thus facilitating further athletic participation (Stein, Bloom, & Sabiston, 2012).

Recognizing the need to understand motivation of athletes, Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, and Keeler (1993) introduced the construct of sport commitment. The sport commitment construct was developed to investigate the motivational factors and underlying persistence of an athlete involved in organized sports. Sport commitment was defined "as a psychological construct representing the desire and resolve to continue sport participation" (Scanlan et al., 1993, p. 6). It was hypothesized that an athlete's behavior is influenced by a combination of psychological traits and other forces (e.g., coaching behaviors). To test this hypothesis, Scanlan et al. (1993) designed the Sport Commitment Model Scale (SCMS). Utilization of the SCMS allowed the researchers to measure the relationship between the five components of the SCMS (sport enjoyment, involvement alternatives, personal investments, social constraints, and involvement opportunities) and athletes' psychological state of attachment to their sport.

Scanlan et al. (1993) describe sport enjoyment as "a positive affective response to the sport experience that reflects generalized feelings such as pleasure, liking and fun" (p. 6). Involvement alternatives relate to "the attractiveness of the most preferred alternative(s) to continued participation in the current endeavor" (p. 7). Involvement alternatives represent opportunities to engage in other activities (e.g., club, band, social organization) instead of sport participation. Personal investments indicate the personal resources dedicated to the sport (e.g., time, energy, finances, physical and mental effort) that would be lost in case of discontinued participation. Social constraints are "social expectations or norms that create feelings of obligation to remain in the [sport]" (p. 7). Lastly, involvement opportunities refer to the possible benefits (e.g., social connections, interactions, high fitness level, skills improvement) that an athlete receives through continued sport participation. Scanlan et al. (1993) found that increases in athletes' sport enjoyment, personal investments, social constraints, and involvement opportunities were positively associated with sport commitment. Nevertheless, the authors determined that an increase in involvement alternatives was correlated with reduced sport commitment. Their study findings also revealed that sport enjoyment and personal investments were the major facilitators of sport commitment (Scanlan et al., 1993).

Coaching Behaviors and Sport Commitment

Leading sport practitioners and scholars have studied the influence of various coaching leadership styles and behaviors on competitive athletes' sport achievement, motivation, and commitment (Andrew & Kent, 2007; Martin, Rocca, Cayanus, & Weber, 2009). …

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