An Instrument for Recording Coaches' Comments and Instructions during Time-Outs

By Hastie, Peter A. | Journal of Sport Behavior, December 1999 | Go to article overview

An Instrument for Recording Coaches' Comments and Instructions during Time-Outs


Hastie, Peter A., Journal of Sport Behavior


This paper presents an instrument for recording coaches' interactions with their players during time-outs in sports such as basketball, volleyball and ice hockey. The instrument consists of four major categories which have been deemed to account for the communicative statements made by coaches to their players during breaks in play These statements are: technical statements, those relating to skill performance; tactical statements, those relating to strategic game matters; psychological statements, those relating to the emotional/cognitive aspects of play; and other statements, which are those statements unrelated to the game, or which are not likely to provide any benefit to the players. Interobserver reliability of the instrument was measured at .955 using a weighted kappa technique. The instrument provides a useful tool for researchers wishing to compare coaches in different game situations such as winning or losing, or to compare coaches working with different age levels or with different win/loss records .

From its earliest significant publications, research on coaching has been characterized by studies concerned with the "glass box" rather than the "black box," that is, research concerned with the coaching process itself rather than research concerned with inputs and outputs. For example, the first attempts at studying coaches were descriptive accounts of what coaches do and what transpired during practice sessions (e.g., Tharpe & Gallimore, 1976). These studies incorporated techniques of systematic observation, defined by Croll (1986, p. 1) as "the process whereby an observer or group of observers devise a systematic set of rules for recording and classifying classroom events." Indeed, a major development during the 1980's was a proliferation of systematic observation instruments designed specifically for coaching (e.g., Crossman, 1985; Lacy & Darst, 1984).

The study of Tharpe and Gallimore (1976), for example, provided a detailed analysis of the coaching behaviors of John Wooden of UCLA basketball fame. Closely following Tharpe and Gallimore was the introduction of the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (Smith, Smoll & Hunt, 1977), which provided great impetus into the study of coaching. Several studies employed CBAS to describe coaching behaviors, (e.g., Perkins, 1990; Senne, 1989) while the instrument has also been used in correlational studies and as an independent variable (e.g., Smith, Zane, Smoll & Coppel, 1983).

Other notable developments include the Arizona State University Observation Instrument (Lacy & Darst, 1984), which has been used to compare the behavior of coaches in a number of contexts (e.g., Claxton, 1988). A further instrument, the Coaching Behaviors Observational Recording System (Tannehill & Burton, 1989) was developed as an evaluative tool for the American Coaching Effectiveness Program education courses.

These studies of coaches in action and the concurrent development of observation instruments have provided a great driving force into the study of coaching; and there is now a considerable database that has identified different coaching behaviors in a number of contexts. Indeed, Darst, Zakrajsek, and Mancini devoted a chapter to "Coach/Athlete Climate Analysis" in "Analyzing Physical Education and Sport Instruction" (Darst, Zakrajsek, & Mancini, 1989, pp. 329-396).

From studies using systematic observation, it has become clear that the context of the setting has a significant impact upon coaching behaviors. For example, research has demonstrated different coaching behaviors between winning and losing coaches (e.g., Claxton, 1988), between coaches at different age levels (Segrave & Ciancio, 1990), and for the same coaches in pre-season and in-season (Lacy & Goldston, 1990), as well as between practice sessions and game play (Chaumeton & Duda, 1988).

Differences have also been found between coaching behaviors in individual and team sports settings. …

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