Coaching Behaviors' Effects On Athletes' Anxiety

Malcolm Perry, The College of Wooster


The current study examined college athletes' perceptions of different coaching styles developed from interviews and observations of varsity coaches at The College of Wooster. Each student read one of the three fictitious scenarios reflecting three coaching styles and provided immediate ratings of their state Anxiety, Motivation, and Satisfaction, assuming he or she was an athlete in that scenario being coached by the coach described. Athletes also answered the Big- Five Personality Questionnaire, to determine whether reactions to negative aspects of coaching are mediated by individual differences in personality measures, particularly Neuroticism and Agreeableness. There were several hypotheses: Athletes higher in Neuroticism would rate themselves higher in state anxiety after reading a scenario about a very aggressive coaching style than athletes who scored lower in Neuroticism. In addition, athletes who scored low in Neuroticism would vary less in their responses to the three different scenarios than athletes high in Neuroticism. Finally, athletes high in Agreeableness would show less anxiety and higher motivation and satisfaction across all three coaching styles than athletes low in Agreeableness. The hypotheses for the current study were not supported. There were no significant main effects or interactions for groups of athletes who scored High or Low on Neuroticism. A main effect on anxiety for High and Low Agreeableness groups were found; High Agreeableness group athletes were more anxious than Low Agreeableness athletes. Finally, there were significant main effects of the scenarios. An Understanding coaching style produced less anxiety than a Role Model or Authoritarian coaching style, and the Authoritarian coaching style produced significantly less Motivation and Satisfaction than the other two coaching styles.