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In two studies, the relationship between adolescent athletes’ skill development and perceived coach behavior as well as motivation climate was investigated. In Study 1, 119 (61 male, 58 female) competitive swimmers from various clubs with a mean age of 12.5 years responded twice with a one year interval to the Leadership Scale for Sports and the Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire. One is the behaviorally-oriented approach of Frank Smoll and Ronald Smith (Smoll & Smith, 1984, 1989), developed in youth sport.
In a number of field studies, Smith and Smoll (1996) tested the relationship between coaches’ behaviors and athletes’ reactions; additionally the CBAS has been utilized to evaluate their Coach Effectiveness Training (CET) program which provided evidence for a causal relationship between coach behaviors and athlete development. When these aspects are congruent, it should result in desirable performance outcomes and athletes’ satisfaction. The instrument consists of five subscales measuring the coach’s decision making style (Democratic and Autocratic Style), the coach’s motivational tendencies (Social Support and Positive Feedback), and the coach’s instructional behavior (Training and Instruction). More particularly, it appears that the leadership behaviors associated with training and instruction, positive feedback, and social support are most highly correlated with athletes’ satisfaction (Horn, 2002) and intrinsic motivation (Amorose & Horn, 2000; 2001). Whereas athletes’ satisfaction and motivation seem to correlate with perceived leadership, the relationship between coach behavior and athletes’ performance has been found to be quite weak or inconsistent (Chelladurai, 1993; Chelladurai & Riemer, 1998). In their mediational model of leadership behavior in sport, Smoll and Smith (1984) suggest that the behavior of the coach is mainly influenced by three sets of variables.
A more recent approach is directed toward the motivational impact of a coach and was derived from goal perspective theory (Duda & Hall, 2001).
When task-involved, a person is trying to master the task, show high effort and thus show ability through learning and effort. A mastery climate in sport specific settings is characterized by athletes’ perceptions that great effort will be rewarded and that all athletes are treated in the same way by their coach, which corresponds to a learning environment that emphasizes individual progress and skill development.
The Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire (PMCSQ) taps the two motivational climates, with two scales assessing separately a mastery climate and a performance climate.
More specifically, at lower skill levels the emphasis is presumably on fun and skill improvement, whereas at higher levels the focus should be more and more on performance outcome. As Chelladurai and Riemer (1998) stated, little is known so far about the relationship between coach behavior and performance. Adolescent athletes who were in a similar phase of their career but participated in either individual or team sports rated their coaches’ leadership behavior and the motivational climate twice within a four month interval. Skill level and age should not be confounded when examining the relationship between perceived leadership behavior and skill level.
Due to attrition of whole groups or of individual athletes, the athletes’ sample size at Time 2 was reduced to 76 athletes (32 females, 44 males). The German version of the LSS for children and adolescents (LSS-D) measures four of the five dimensions of the original LSS, the exception being Autocratic Style.
With permission of the coaches, the athletes were contacted in their training groups and were given information about the study. An inspection of the means and standard deviations for the sample reveals that the coaches are rated quite positively. Correlation coefficients showed that all four leadership scales and the Mastery Climate scale were interrelated. Given the number of participants who had dropped considerably between Time 1 and Time 2, we first ran a multivariate analysis of variance with dropout (n = 40) vs. In order to test for perceived changes over time, a multivariate 2 (transition) x 2 (time) analysis of variance was conducted, with the LSS scales and the motivational climate scales as dependent variables.
This means overall that athletes who stayed in the same career phase during the one-year period perceive decreasing attention of their coach whereas athletes who made a successful transition report increasing coach attention over the one year period. The first purpose was to examine the relationship between two approaches of coach-athlete-interaction, namely the leadership behavior and the motivational climate. It was hypothesized that athletes competing at higher skill levels would perceive more coach attention (more positive feedback, more instruction as measured by the LSS).
It was hypothesized that athletes with an increase in skill level would perceive their coaches as giving more training and instruction, positive feedback, and social support and emphasizing a mastery climate more than coaches of athletes with no increase in proficiency level. In our study, coaches who provided a positive and encouraging atmosphere were more successful with regard to the athletes’ career development (i.e. Though this may be nothing unusual in the field of voluntary sport, particularly in youth sport, the attrition rate nevertheless narrows the scope of our study.
It was derived from information about the athletes’ competition level and changes in performance within the one year period of our study and resulted in a categorization of athletes who either moved up from a lower career phase to a higher one or not. This enabled us to use a quantitative, interval scale measure of skill development which could be used as criterion variable in regression analyses. The difference between the coach’s ratings at Time 1 and Time 2 revealed the skill development of the athletes which could vary from minus-scores (decrease) to scores about zero (stable) to plus-scores (increase). With skill development as a continuous variable, it was possible to use regression analyses with perceived leadership behavior and motivational climate at Time 1 as predictors and skill development as criterion. This corroborates the assumptions of social psychological models, like Chelladurai and Riemer (1998), Smoll and Smith (1989), Horn (2002), or Mageau and Vallerand (2003), that contextual variables would moderate coach behavior and coach effectiveness. But it should be kept in mind that we did not assess actual coach behavior, but how it was perceived by the athletes. The main limitation of the design of our studies lies in the loss of subjects during the data collections period. Both studies show that individual sport athletes who improve over time perceived more coach instruction.
Though this context variable was only utilized in Study 2, it is important to note that it obviously contributed to significant differences in the relationship of coach behavior and athletes’ skill development. One reason might be due to the fact that the number of athletes practicing in the same team is smaller in individual sports than in team sports. In addition, instructions of the coach may be rather directed to the whole team than to the individual athlete. Specifically, not only the individual goal orientation or perceived motivational climate might play a crucial role in skill development, but also the team climate or team cohesion of a team. First and foremost it should be emphasized that the relationship between perceived coach behavior and skill development showed a clearer picture in individual than in team sports.
Though contextual and situational constraints, like the team in this study, or a stress inducing environment in the review of Mageau and Vallerand (2003), are likely to influence coach behavior and coach effectiveness, evidence-based conclusions for coach education lack consistency. I guess for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. Skill level was estimated from performance criteria like level of competition, and years of practice. In a comprehensive program of research and intervention the authors found that coaches with the most positive impact on athletes’ development typically follow four behavioral guidelines providing a high degree of positive reinforcement, mistake-contingent encouragement, corrective instruction, and technical instruction (Smith & Smoll, 1996). Empirical studies were primarily concerned with the relationship of leadership behavior and athletes’ satisfaction. Recently, Hollembeak and Amorose (2005) reported a positive indirect effect of democratic behavior on intrinsic motivation in college team and individual athletes.
For example, Weiss and Friedrichs (1986) report a negative correlation between the coach’s social support and the team record of the basketball team. Achievement goal theory hypothesizes that in achievement settings different goal orientations can be fostered by different motivational contexts.
When ego-involved, a person is less intrinsically motivated but is more interested in the task in order to demonstrate his or her superiority.
In contrast, a performance climate is characterized by perceptions among athletes that teammates try to outperform one another, that they are punished for their mistakes, and that individual recognition is limited to only a few stars (Seifriz, Duda, & Chi, 1992). Studies using the PMCSQ have typically examined the relationship between athletes’ perceptions of the motivational climate and measures of the athletes’ self-perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors (e.g. Likewise, research on motivational climate has focused more on the relationship of motivation and satisfaction than of performance. The aims of that study were (a) to look for possible differences between team and individual sports, and (b) to estimate the impact of coach behavior and motivational climate on skill development, similar to the first study. The volunteer participants were members of sport clubs and of varying degree of competence and experience in competitions. To address this issue, competition level and experience, years of practice as well as age and gender were integrated in this system.
Mean scores on LSS and motivational climate scales suggest that coaches typically are perceived as providing instruction, positive feedback, and social support, emphasizing mastery climate and democratic style, and downplaying performance climate.
No significant univariate effects of time occurred for any of the six dependent variables.
The leadership scales scores and the mastery climate scale scores were found to be positively interrelated and seem to reflect behaviors characterized as a ‘good’ coach.
As Halliburton and Weiss (2002) have noted, with this kind of research there is an inherent confounding effect of age and skill level (see Horn & Harris, 1996). Of course it can be argued that athletes who stay in the same phase over a year nevertheless may experience improvements in skill level. In addition, we shortened the time period of the follow up measurement, and we expanded the external validity of the study by including individual and team sports.



This interval was shorter than in Study 1 and was primarily chosen because we expected a lower attrition rate. This is quite common in youth sport where children, and even more so adolescents, may start and stop their commitment to sport just as they like.
Study 1 in particular, indicated that positive feedback contributed to skill development in individual sports. 2001), we can find in our studies that they are related to skill development as well – at least in individual sports.
It could be shown that coaches’ high social support in conjunction with low instruction correlated with team athletes’ skill development. Thus, coaches can spend more time in instructing und teaching each athlete individually, and they can give detailed feedback on each individual athlete’s performance (e.g. If the LSS scores reflect the individual athlete’s perceived coach behavior this may result in less perceived instruction and feedback in the case of team athletes.
A great body of empirical studies reveals that within team sports task and social cohesion contributes to better performance (Carron, Colman, Wheeler, & Stevens, 2002) and vice versa. Discrepancy between preferences and perceptions of leadership behavior and satisfaction of athletes in varying sports.
Sport leadership in a cross-national setting: The case of Japanese and Canadian university athletes.
The effects of personality and perceived leadership behaviors on performance in collegiate football.
Relationship between the congruence of preferred and actual leader behavior and subordinate satisfaction with leadership. Motivational climate, psychological responses, and motor skill development in children's sport: A field-based intervention study. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group. In Study 2, 212 junior athletes (136 male, 76 female) of individual and team sports with a mean age of 15 years completed the same questionnaires twice within 4 months. Interviews with elite level athletes, such as female gymnasts and figure skaters (Donnelly, 1993), or Olympic medallists (Jowett & Cockerill, 2003) reveal the tremendously positive, but sometimes even destructive influence coaches may have on the athletes’ sport career and their physical and psychological welfare. Athletes seem to be satisfied when coaches emphasize training and instruction as well as positive feedback (Chelladurai, 1993). Chelladurai und Riemer (1998) raised some concerns as well and made suggestions for future instrument revision. Both measures, however, are affected by many factors other than the coaches’ or the athletes’ behaviors (Chelladurai, 1984; Horne & Carron).
With increasing performance level, coaches become the most important mentors, emphasize mainly performance enhancement, but are also regarded as socialization agents who are caring and who give social support. Stated by Ames (1992) „the structure and demands of a learning environment can evoke different goal orientations, and as a result, different motivational patterns” (p.
It has been shown that a mastery climate is more efficient in encouraging learners to develop a task orientation and intrinsic motivation, to invest effort and time into sport activity and skill development than a performance climate (Ames, 1992). Chaumeton and Duda (1988) found in a study with 124 young male basketball players that athletes at higher skill levels (high school level) perceived the climate to be more performance-oriented than athletes competing at lower skill levels (elementary, and junior high school level).
The main aim of our studies was therefore to look for the impact of coach behavior and motivational climate on skill development of the athletes.
In our sample, 45 athletes were in the initiation phase, 54 in the developmental phase, and 20 in the mastery phase.
The German version of the LSS was pretested with a sample of 78 adolescent athletes of both genders and a sample of 154 male and female students of physical education and showed a four-factor structure with satisfactory scale reliabilities (Cronbach alpha coefficients > .8).
As with the LSS, this questionnaire was first pretested and then administered to the participants of Study 1. Athletes’ data were collected with their informed consent and with consent and written permission of their parents. The lower overall mean scores for performance than for mastery climate corroborate earlier findings (Boyd et al., 1996).
Though each of these five scales measures some specific aspect of coach behavior, at the same time they share a common aspect, namely positive and encouraging coach behavior. Salmela, 1994) differentiates between athletes who improved in skill level (coded “transition”), or remained stable over the one year period (coded “no transition”), respectively (Table 3). Athletes varying in skill level perceive coach behavior and motivational climate similarly. Whereas motivational climate is unrelated to skill improvement, coaches’ leadership behavior does appear to have an effect.
And in absolute terms their performance measures may have been even better than those of the successful transition group.
At both points of measurement, the leadership and the motivational climate scales were administered to the athletes. The sample consisted of individual sports (diving, swimming, judo, n = 106) and team sports (hockey, volleyball, water polo, handball, n = 106). Athletes’ data were collected with their informed consent and – in case of underage participants – with consent and written permission of their parents. Differences in coach effectiveness between individual and team sports may be explained by differences in the social structure of both types of sport. So what we found are differences in the relationship between perceived, not actual, coach behavior and skill development of individual and team sport athletes. A statistical dropout analysis showed no differences between dropouts and non-dropouts at Time 1 in Study 1 and only minor differences in Study 2. Both dimensions, instruction and feedback, are regarded as important coach behaviors which positively impact athletes and their preferences.
Beauchamp, Halliwell, Fournier, & Koestner (1996) found better performance of golfers after a skill training that emphasized individual skill comparisons rather than social comparisons, or in terms of motivational climate mastery instead of performance climate.
In a recent study, Chul and Howe (2001) found significant correlations between leadership behavior of coaches and team cohesion among field hockey and rugby players.
In individual sports, athletes with higher skill level and a positive skill development perceive more instruction, feedback and mastery climate than athletes with lower skill level.
Perceived coaching behaviors and college athletes’ intrinsic motivation: A test of self-determination theory. Perceived competence in young athletes: Research findings and recommendations for coaches and parents.
Age and gender effects in physical self-concepts for adolescent elite athletes and nonathletes: A multicohort-multioccasion design. Perceived motivational climate and cognitive and affective correlates among Norwegian athletes. Dimensions of coaching behavior, need satisfaction, and the psychological and physical welfare of young athletes. This lack of construct validity of performance measures may help to explain the nonsignificant relationship between coach behavior and athletes’ performance that is reported in the literature to date. 15) makes children vulnerable to fear of failure and quitting the task (Duda & Hall, 2001).
Additionally, Theeboom, de Knop, and Weiss (1995) indicated that a mastery climate contributes to faster learning progress and more enjoyment among youngsters. These studies consistently found that a mastery climate is significantly and positively related to athletes’ level of enjoyment, satisfaction, interest in sport, intrinsic motivation and a task goal orientation. But in a recent study by Halliburton and Weiss (2002), no significant differences emerged in perceptions of the motivational climate among gymnasts competing at various skill levels. In Study 1, leadership behavior and the motivational climate were rated twice with a one year-interval by adolescent swimmers who were in different phases of their sport career. These phases were derived from Salmela (1994) who suggested that “there were three distinct career phases for the initiation, development and mastery of the talent of all performers” (p.
This German version of the LSS was administered to the athletes of the study reported herein. A multivariate analysis of variance with gender as independent variable and the six scalEs as dependent variables showed no significant gender differences, mF (6, 112) = 1.17, p = 34.
Apart from this small effect for democratic behavior, the results showed that, across the phases, the athletes perceived coach behavior and motivational climate similarly. Swimmers with performance increments perceived increasing positive feedback and instruction of their coach during the one year period.
It appeared that the motivational climate, however, did neither change over time nor did it contribute to an in increase in skill level.
In this study, we tried to neutralize this confounding by integrating both age and skill level in the assessment of the career phase.
The problems with the criterion of skill development results among others from the fact, that our sample was a relatively heterogeneous group in skill level from the start and therefore the categorization of our sample into a transition and no transition group was intended to make participants comparable with regard to skill development.
In addition, both times the coaches were asked to rate their athletes’ skills on several scales individually. Thus, though gender and dropout contributed to differences in perceived coach behavior these differences were very small (Table 4) and therefore were not considered in further analyses. Whereas skill development of team sport athletes was predicted by higher perceived social support and less instruction (R? = .20, Table 5), individual sport athletes’ skill development was predicted by less perceived social support and more instruction.


Team sports require group-oriented behavior of the coach, individual sports require coach behaviors that focus on the individual athlete. Nevertheless, the attrition rate limits the conclusions to those who did not drop out but continued in sport. With this regard, our findings corroborate the assumptions of Chelladurai and Riemer (1998) as well as those of Smith and Smoll (1996). Other authors report increases in perceived performance and competence of team athletes as well. Consequently, athletes benefit from the intensive support of their coaches, particularly, when coaches provide a motivational climate that emphasizes individual progress.
Athletes who were classified as highly cohesive perceived their coach to display more instruction, more democratic behavior, more social support, and less autocratic behavior than athletes with low cohesion scores. This means that coaches in individual sports should be trained to give instructions, positive feedback, and emphasize individual progress in order to improve athletes’ skills. Intrinsic motivation: Relationships with collegiate athletes gender, scholarship status and perceptions of their coaches’ behavior. Pre- to post-season changes in the intrinsic motivation of first-year college athletes: Relationships with coaching behavior and scholarship status. Situational and dispositional goals as predictors of perceptions of individual and team improvement, satisfaction and coach ratings among elite female handball teams. The relationship among perceived coaching behaviors, perceptions of ability, and motivation in competitive age-group swimmers. Sources of competence information and perceived motivational climate among adolescent female gymnasts varying in skill level.
Personal and situational factors associated with dropping out versus maintaining participation in competitive sport. The relationship of perceived motivational climate to intrinsic motivation and beliefs about success in basketball.
Self-esteem and children’s reactions to youth sport coaching behaviors: A field study of self-enhancement processes. The influence of leader behaviors, coach attributes, and institutional variables on performance and satisfaction of collegiate basketball teams. Contrary to expectations and research, coach behavior in Study 1 was perceived similarly across varying skill levels.
This learning environment is referred to in the sport research literature as the motivational climate.
In a recent review of research, Biddle, Wang, Kavussanu, and Spray (2003) summarize the existent literature showing that task orientation in physical activity is associated with motives of skill development, perceptions of competence, and positive affect, whereby ego orientation correlates with motives of competition, unsportspersonlike attitudes, and the display of aggressive behaviors in sport.. Conversely, a learning environment that emphasizes competition and social comparison between the group members facilitates the development of ego orientation and can have detrimental effects on the enjoyment and performance of certain groups of learners, like students with low ability self-concept (Liukkonen, 1999), and students who suffer from fear of failure (Dweck, 1999).
In contrast, a performance climate appears to be positively related to perceptions of tension, pressure, and performance anxiety.
In addition to the perceived motivational climate measured by the PMCSQ, Pensgaard and Roberts (2002) conducted in-depth interviews with seven Norwegian elite athletes (international and world class level) in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the role of the coach, and the motivational climate. The aims of the study were (a) to look for the relationship between coaches' leadership behavior and motivational climate in youth sport, (b) to test, in a cross-sectional design, the assumption of Salmela (1994) that coaches show increasing involvement the higher the athletes’ skill level, and (c) to investigate the impact of coaches’ behavior on skill development of their athletes in a longitudinal design.
According to Salmela (1994), the former were categorized as a “transition” group, the latter as a “no transition” group (Table 3). Hence dropouts and non-dropouts as well as males and females did not perceive coach behavior and motivational climate differently. The within-subjects factor (time) is represented by the two points of measurement, being one year apart. One possible explanation is that the perceived coach behavior and motivational climate are influenced by frame of reference effects. In contrast, athletes who made no skill improvement, perceived decreasing positive feedback and instruction.
The motivational climate proved to be a stable group environment with a higher emphasis on mastery than on performance climate. Nevertheless, as with any study that attempts to examine skill-related differences, the study findings may be influenced by a confounding of age and skill level.
All coaches had at least one coaching license in their respective field, eight coaches had a university master degree in physical education.
In addition, mastery climate contributed to increments in skill level of individual sport athletes (R? = .55, Table 6).
For example, in team sports, coaches’ instructions may be more directed toward the whole team or the group and less so to the individual, whereas in individual sports coaches may direct their comments and instructions more to the individual athlete and less so to the group. Although it is doubtful if any longitudinal study could avoid a high attrition rate among voluntary sport club participants, in order to leave more subjects in the longitudinal data analysis further research, therefore, should try to collect data from a much larger sample of athletes from the start.
In line with the literature, it can thus be concluded that in individual sports good coaches should give instructions, positive feedback and emphasize a mastery climate. In line with other research reported above, these coach behaviors are likewise essential to foster satisfaction, intrinsic motivation and autonomy. Effects of cognitive-behavioral psychological skills training on the motivation, preparation, and putting performance of novice golfers. Longitudinal data showed a positive relationship between perceived coach behavior (instruction and positive feedback) and swimmers’ skill development.
Athletes perceived more competence when the coaches gave positive feedback (Horne & Carron, 1985), and football players’ competence status correlated with the coaches’ attention and support (Garland & Barry, 1988). Considering the fact that – unlike school or work place – sport is a voluntary activity, and participants in organized sports can choose to drop out at any time, the motivational climate is of central importance.
Results of this study reveal, that even top-level athletes place greater emphasis on a mastery, rather than a performance climate.
Hence, based on the assumptions of Salmela (1994), it was hypothesized that athletes with an increase in skill level perceive their coaches as providing more training and instruction, more positive feedback and social support, and emphasizing a mastery climate more than coaches of athletes with no increase in skill level. Based on Salmela’s observations (1994), athletes who made a successful career transition should attribute to their coaches a higher involvement and more support than athletes with no transition. In research concerning self-concept, Marsh (1998), for example, emphasized that “…how favorably individuals perceive themselves not only depends on their objective accomplishments, but also on how these accomplishments compare with frames of reference established by the expectations and performances of significant others” (p.
Thus, compared to team sport athletes, skill development in individual sports could be much better predicted by perceived coach behavior and the motivational climate. Therefore a greater amount of instructions may help to improve athletes’ skills in individual sports, as was shown in this study. This strategy may ensure that the longitudinal data of more subjects can be analyzed over time. 58) clearly point out that even within individual sports “it is reasonable to assume that there will be competition among the participants who are part of the same team… The role of the team mates may play a more influential role than we have so far assumed”. The LSS subscale of social support includes a coach’s concern for a positive group atmosphere and warm interpersonal relations with team members. Enhancement of children’s self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches.
In contrast, in team sports social psychological variables may be more important than individual instruction. Hence, future research should focus more systematically on this context variable that may modify the coach-athlete relationship and its influence on skill level.
As cooperation and cohesion are essential ingredients of team sports it is not surprising that social support proved to be of significant influence on skill development in team sports.
Skill development of team sport athletes was predicted by higher perceived social support and less instruction, whereby individual sport athletes’ skill development was predicted by less perceived social support, more instruction, and higher mastery climate. The developmental phase is characterized by more serious training on an intermediate skill level.
It could be argued that the coach behavior and the perceived motivational climate not only depended on the real situation, but also on how athletes compared their perceptions to the specific reference group, namely that if their own skill level. Coaches who give social support, are interested in the personal welfare of their athletes, and show an interest in their life outside of sport may contribute to skill development of team sport athletes but less in the case of individual athletes. Coach education in team sports thus should lay special emphasis on social skills, namely providing social support to the athletes and fostering social (and task) cohesion in the team. Both studies point to the importance of coach behavior for skill development of athletes, but the type of sport may modify the relationship. This may have resulted in athletes perceiving a high mastery climate, regardless of their skill level. In essence, our results show that coaches who emphasize individual skill development, either by instruction or by mastery climate, are better suited for individual sports.
But if they were instructed to compare the motivational climate in their skill level to that in other skill levels, it could be expected that quite different results would emerge.
On the other hand, coaches in team sports should lay special emphasis on social support and personal development of their athletes.
Performers in the mastery phase devote most of their time and effort to the refinement of their skills.



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