NCHRBS Poster - the Conference Exchange

NCHRBS Poster - the Conference Exchange

Gender Differences in Preference and
Perception of Coaching Behaviors
Eddie T.C. Lam , Angela Cunningham , Siu-Yin Cheung , Demetrius Pearson , & Sungwon Bae
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Cleveland State University, Hong Kong Baptist University, University of Houston, Texas Tech University
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Introduction

Results

Sport leadership is considered as the behavioral process that
can influence the performance and psychological well-being
of athletes (e.g., Barrow, 1977; Horn, 1992). For this reason,
coaching leadership behavior has been the major theme for
coach-athlete relationship studies. Most previous studies on
gender issues have concentrated on comparing the gender of
coaches (e.g., Frankl & Babbitt, 1998; Simmons, 1997), few
studies have focused on comparing male and female athletes.

Results of the one-way MANOVA analysis indicated that there
were significant (p < .001) differences in the preference (Wilks Lambda = 13.675, p < .001) and perception (Wilks Lambda = 16.348, p < .001) mean vector scores between male and female athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the preferred and perceived coaching behaviors between male and female athletes. The 60-item Revised Leadership Scale for Sports (RLSS; Zhang, Jenson, & Mann, 1997) was used for this study. The RLSS had six dimensions: Autocratic Behavior, Positive Feedback, Training and Instruction, Situational Consideration, Social Support, and Autocratic Behavior. Item responses were based on a 5-point Likert scale: Always (5 points), Often (4 points), Occasionally (3 points), Seldom (2 points), and Never (1 point). The total scores for each category were obtained by adding the scores of all the items and then dividing by the number of items in that category. The higher the scores in that category, the more obvious the behavior the participant was in that dimension. Method Invitation letters were sent out to athletic directors (N=~100) of NCAA institutions in 2005 to invite them to participate in the study. A total of 15 athletic directors responded and indicated they were willing to participate. Survey packages (cover letter which explained the purpose of the study, consent forms for the participants, and demographic sheets) were sent to the athletic directors together with the RLSS. The study was conducted with the help of head coaches, who distributed the questionnaires to the athletes of their respective sport. The RLSS included two versions: (a) Athletes Preference of Coaching Behavior and (b) Athletes Perception of Coaching Behavior. It took approximately 20 minutes to complete both questionnaires and the demographic sheet. Once completed, athletes placed the questionnaires in the provided envelopes, and the coaches returned them to the athletic directors. After collecting all the envelopes, the athletic directors mailed them back to the researcher with the postage pre-paid priority mail envelopes. Participants were male athletes (N = 585) from the following sports: baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and track and field; and female athletes (N = 472) from softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and track and field. SPSS 11.5 for Windows (SPSS, 2004) was used for data analysis. Boxs M test was used to assess the covariance matrices for the dependent variables and Levines Test was utilized to examine the homogeneity of error variances among the dependent variables. One-way MANOVA was used to test the differences in the perception and preference mean vector scores between male and female athletes. The perception version was significant for both the Democratic and Autocratic Behaviors (see Table 2). Female athletes had significantly (p < .05) lower scores in both dimensions than their male counterparts (Figure 2). Leadership Style Democratic Behavior Positive Feedback Training and Instruction Situational Consideration Social Support Autocratic Behavior F Democratic Behavior Positive Feedback Training and Instruction Situational Consideration Social Support Autocratic Behavior *p < .05 1.128 3.243 1.504 6.208 0.947 63.634 p .289 .072 .220 .013* .331 .000** 5 4 Male Athletes 3 Female Athletes 2 5 4 Male Athletes Female Athletes 2 1 Training and Instruction Situational Consideration Social Support Positive Feedback Training and Instruction Situational Consideration Social Support Autocratic Behavior Conclusion When compared to male athletes, female athletes preferred a higher degree of Situation Consideration but a lower degree of Autocratic Behaviors. This suggests that coaches should use different coaching styles for male and female athletes. In terms of Situation Consideration, the coaches should consider factors such as time, environment, skill level, and physical condition of the athletes before selecting athletes for the appropriate game position. The coaches should also know how to differentiate between coaching methods at various maturity stages and skill levels. ATHLETES' PREFERENCE OF LEADERSHIP STYLES Positive Feedback .000** .836 .120 .145 .256 .000** ATHLETES' PERCEPTION OF LEADERSHIP STYLES Democratic Behavior Figure 1: Mean Preference of Leadership Style Scores Between Male and Female Athletes Democratic Behavior 28.340 .043 2.422 2.133 1.290 64.049 1 **p < .001 3 p Figure 2: Mean Perception of Leadership Style Scores Between Male and Female Athletes Table 1: Univariate Analyses for the Preference of Leadership Styles Between Male and Female Athletes Leadership Style F **p < .001 Paired-sample t-tests analyses revealed that preference scores of all dimensions of the RLSS were significant (p < .05). All preference scores were higher than the perception scores except Autocratic Behavior, which had lower scores. SCORES Purpose Univariate analyses indicated that only the Situation Consideration and Autocratic Behavior dimensions of the preference version were significant (see Table 1). Female athletes (the red line in Figure 1) had significant (p < .05) higher preference scores in Situational Consideration but lower scores in Autocratic Behavior than male athletes. Table 2: Univariate Analyses for the Perception of Leadership Styles Between Male and Female Athletes SCORES 1 1 Autocratic Behavior On the other hand, coaches should avoid autocratic behaviors such as over-emphasis his/her power or authority which can be counter productive when dealing with female athletes (Sherman & Fuller, 2001). In contrast to their female counterparts, the prominence of coaches personal influence is not viewed as negative by male athletes (Chelladurai, 1989). In addition, autocratic leadership behavior would not facilitate effective communication, which was reported as extremely valuable by female athletes (Fasting & Pfister, 2000).

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