Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Coaching Commitment and Turnover: A Comparison of Current and Former Coaches. (Psychology)

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Coaching Commitment and Turnover: A Comparison of Current and Former Coaches. (Psychology)

Article excerpt

Although coaching continuity is thought to be important in developing and sustaining quality sport programs, coach turnover is not well understood. Consequently, we used a commitment model to address why some coaches maintain their involvement while others discontinue coaching For this study, 469 USA Swimming age-group coaches completed a mail survey designed to assess commitment model constructs, including coaching satisfaction, benefits, costs, investments, alternative options, social constraints, and commitment. To test the commitment model, we first used structural equation modeling to assess whether the model provided an adequate fit to the data for current and former coaches. Overall, satisfaction and investments were significantly related to commitment. Moreover, the standardized path coefficients between benefits and costs and satisfaction were also significant. Multivariate analysis of variance and follow-up analyses revealed that current coaches reported higher commitment as well as less attractive alternative options, higher investments, and higher social constraints compared to former coaches. In replication of past research, we compared current and former coaches on the benefits and costs associated with coaching.

Key words: investment model, job satisfaction, swimming

Each year, a considerable number of coaches leave the coaching ranks. For example, approximately 35% of the coaches discontinue their membership with USA Swimming each year. Sport organizations recognize that continuity among coaches is important to sustain quality sport programs, and, consequently, they view coaching turnover as an important issue. However, the reasons some individuals continue while others discontinue coaching are not yet well understood.

Few empirical studies have examined why some coaches maintain their involvement while others discontinue coaching (e.g., Knoppers, Meyer, Ewing, & Forrest, 1991; Weiss & Sisley, 1984; Weiss & Stevens, 1993). To date, this research has largely focused on benefits and costs as well as individuals' satisfaction associated with coaching. Overall, former and current coaches perceive similar benefits and costs. Both groups rated intrinsic factors such as enjoyment working with athletes, the challenge of building a successful program, and feelings of self-satisfaction as the most important coaching benefits. In contrast, extrinsic benefits were rated as least important by both former and current coaches (e.g., travel, stepping-stone to an administrative position, prestige).

Current and former coaches also held similar views of the costs associated with coaching (Weiss & Stevens, 1993). Both groups noted time-related factors as the most important coaching costs. Although not as strong as time issues, both current and former coaches also mentioned a variety of other costs, including frustrations working with athletes, lack of administrative support, and external pressures.

Although current and former coaches shared commonality in their perceptions of benefits and costs, Weiss and Stevens (1993) noted some differences between current and former coaches. Overall, current coaches were more satisfied with coaching than former coaches. They also placed greater importance on developing a successful program and the opportunity to continue their athletic experience compared to former coaches. Unexpectedly, current coaches placed more importance on costs related to the time demands associated with coaching and feelings of incompetence in coaching (e.g., inability to motivate athletes and accomplish goals) compared to former coaches. This unexpected finding may be because the survey was administered, on average, 6 years after they had discontinued coaching. The saliency of coaching costs may have dissipated during that time period. Feasibly, a different pattern of differences between current and former coaches may have emerged if a shorter time existed between survey administration and coaching discontinuation. …

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