YOUTH ATHLETES AND PARENTS PREFER DIFFERENT COACHING STYLES
Martin, S. B., Jackson, A. W., Richardson, P. A., & Weiller, K. H. (1999). Coaching preferences of adolescent youths and their parents. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 11, 247-262.
The preferred coaching styles of children and their parents were assessed with a revised form of the Leadership Scale for Sport (SLSS). Children ranged in age from 10 to 18 years and competed in summer youth sport leagues. At least one parent within each family answered the scale.
Gender differences were revealed. Boys preferred an autocratic coaching style that involves dependent decision making and stresses personal authority slightly more than did fathers. In contrast, girls preferred an autocratic style slightly less than did mothers. Girls were more likely to want a coach that allowed athletes to assist in making decisions pertaining to practices and games than were boys. Collectively, boys and girls preferred coaching behavior that allows greater decision making by athletes than did parents. Also, boys and girls preferred coaching behavior characterized by a concern for the welfare of individual athletes, positive group atmosphere, and warm interpersonal relations with athletes more than did parents.
Implication. Youth sport athletes and parents demonstrate different expectations for coaching behaviors. When most sport organizations are heavily influenced by parents in decision making, it is likely that many "club administrations" will make erroneous decisions because they do not reflect the preferences of adolescent athletes.
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.