AASP Conference 2012 Atlanta

AASP Conference 2012 Atlanta

Come check out the Boston University Sport Psychology program as they present at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology Conference in Atlanta.

Values, Joys, and Sources of Unhappiness of 500 High School Coaches

John McCarthy, Amy Baltzell, Vanessa LoVerme Aktar, Dave Hurley, Ira Martin

The purpose of this symposium is to present results from a mixed methods study which focused on understanding the values, job satisfaction, and happiness of public high school sport coaches (n=500).  Data was gathered via an open-ended anonymous on-line survey.  We will consider the alignment between (a) coaches’ values and sources of coaching unhappiness and joy, and (b) their perceptions of what is valued by their schools and their athletes’ parents.

Why study the subjective experiences of high school coaches? Firstly, the coach is a central figure in the quality of the athlete’s experience. U.S. participation in high school sport has been steadily increasing, from 4 million in 1971-1972 to over 7.5 million student-athletes in 2009-2010, and so has the number of coaches.  Secondly, prior coaching research has focused on the sources of stress of collegiate and elite coaches, such as high expectations and pressure to win (Frey, 2007; Martin, Dale & Jackson, 2001; McCallister, Blinde & Weiss, 2000), time commitment and personal sacrifices (Olusoga, Butt, Maynard & Hays, 2010), and lack of resources and support (Frey, 2007; Kelley & Gill, 1993; Kilty, 2006). Thirdly, while there has been research on understanding how coaches foster the development of life skills (Gould, Collins, Lauer & Chung, 2006; Gould, Collins, Lauer & Chung, 2007; McCallister, Blinde & Weiss, 2000) scant research exists in the area of the psychological and emotional well-being of the high school coach. More work is needed to understand the intersection of what coaches value, what is valued in their context, and what they find challenging and rewarding about coaching.

Our results are of interest to sport psychology consultants, administrators and coach educators who provide both support and professional development opportunities to coaches. The predictors of coaching job satisfaction and happiness will be presented in the supporting symposium lectures.

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Prepare (verb): to put in proper condition or readinessTo "2" (prep): used for expressing motionPerform (verb): to carry out; execute; do