Relationship of Coach and Player Behaviors during Practice to Team Performance in High School Girls' Basketball

By Curtner-Smith, Matthew D.; Wallace, Sheila J. et al. | Journal of Sport Behavior, June 1999 | Go to article overview

Relationship of Coach and Player Behaviors during Practice to Team Performance in High School Girls' Basketball


Curtner-Smith, Matthew D., Wallace, Sheila J., Wang, Min Qi, Journal of Sport Behavior


One fairly well-developed line of research in the comparatively new field of sport pedagogy is that concerned with how physical education teachers and their students spend their time during lessons (Metzler, 1989). Early research of this type involved using systematic observation instruments (see Darst, Zakrajsek, & Mancini, 1989) to describe how teachers and students spent their time in physical education (Anderson, 1980; Anderson & Barrette, 1978; Metzler, 1989, Pieron, 1986; Silverman, 1991). These instruments were designed to record time spent by teachers and students in various instructional and managerial behaviors. This descriptive-analytic research provided the foundation for a second wave of studies in which researchers attempted to discover relationships between time-dependent variables and pupil achievement (Metzler, 1989; Silverman, 1991). These process-product studies provided the basis for intervention studies in which researchers attempted to modify how teachers and students spent their time during lessons in order to enhance student learning (Metzler, 1989; Smith, 1992).

Not surprisingly, process-product research completed to-date indicates that physical education teachers who spend relatively little of their own time managing students and relatively large amounts of time instructing them are more successful in terms of enhancing learning (Curtner-Smith, 1994). Moreover, once teachers are able to spend the majority of their time in instructional behaviors, those who are most effective provide short and explicit demonstrations so as to focus students on a few relevant critical aspects of a skill, and so as not to overload them with too much information (Byra & Coulon, 1994; Rink & Werner, 1989; Werner & Rink, 1989). Once students are engaged in skill practice/game play, the most effective teachers spend relatively little time passively monitoring and relatively large amounts of time actively supervising, prompting, correcting, and encouraging students by providing feedback. This action has the effect of keeping students on-task (van der Mars, Vogler, Darst, & Cusimano, 1994) and, providing practice is successful and appropriate, its skill-related components enhance learning (Silverman, Tyson, & Krampitz, 1992). Furthermore, citing research conducted by Phillips and Carlisle (1983), Pieron (1982), and DeKnop (1986), Lee, Keh, and Magill (1993) noted that, typically, more effective physical education teachers provide more skill-related feedback than less effective teachers.

When the focus has been on student behaviors, physical education teacher effectiveness research has consistently indicated that the most successful teachers are those who are able to provide students with the highest amounts of time in which they are actively and successfully engaged in practice (Metzler, 1989, Silverman, 1991). In order to achieve this goal, effective teachers minimize the time their students spend in managerial activities and listening to instructions (Curtner-Smith, 1994; Curtner-Smith, Kerr, & Todorovich, 1996). In addition, more effective teachers organize practices, drills, small-sided game play, and full-sided game play so that the time pupils spend waiting for a turn to participate is either eradicated altogether or kept to a minimum and the time they spend actively engaged in motor activity is maximized (Siedentop, 1991).

Since this line of "effectiveness" research proved to be so fruitful in the physical education setting (see Metzler, 1989 and Silverman, 1991 for reviews of this research), a few sport pedagogists have tried to use the same behavioristic model in the athletic setting. Researchers interested in coaching effectiveness began this effort by attempting to describe the behaviors of well-known and/or successful coaches. For example, Tharp and Gallimore (1976) observed 15 practices coached by John Wooden of UCLA. They discovered that he spent most of his time instructing and that he used praising and scolding behaviors in equal numbers. …

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