Race and Ethnicity in the Coach-Athlete Relationship: Coaching Attributes Effect on Athletes
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The quality of a coach-athlete relationship has been found to predict on field performance, as well as levels of academic self-efficacy, self-regulation, and aggression in athletes (Jowett, 2017; Nicholls et. al., 2017; Worthy, 2018). Previous research has also indicated that learning style preferences are influenced by ethnicity, regardless of socioeconomic status (Banks, 1988). Despite establishing that the quality of an athlete’s relationship with their coach can have a profound impact for the athlete both on and off the field, and that there are cultural differences in how people view and learn about the world, little is known about the impacts that an athlete’s race/ethnicity may have on the effectiveness of different coaching attributes, styles, and/or techniques. This study aims to provide insight into this gap in knowledge by administering a survey to athletes at Texas A&M that consists of a shortened version of the Leadership Scale for Sport (SLSS; Chelludurai, 1980; Chiu, Rodriguez, & Won, 2016), which asked about an athlete’s preferences regarding their coach’s approaches to training/instruction, democratic behavior, autocratic behavior, social support, and positive feedback. Also included in the survey were short response questions that were formulated to discover any differences that may exist between racial/ethnic groups in coaching preference not covered by the SLSS. Based on prior research on cultural worldviews (Komarraju & Cokley, 2008), we hypothesized that athletes of color would prefer social support and democratic behavior from their coaches more frequently than white athletes, and white athletes will prefer autocratic behavior from their coaches more. SLSS data supported our hypothesis that athletes of color would prefer social support more often than white athletes, however, no significant differences were found on the leadership dimensions of democratic and autocratic behavior. Potential explanations for this lack of significance are discussed. Additionally, the term Athletic Racial Profiling is proposed to describe instances in which overgeneralizations about particular racial or ethnic groups are applied universally to individual athletes within those groups.
Race and Ethnicity
Racial and Ethnic Differences
Knostman, Jacob W (2020). Race and Ethnicity in the Coach-Athlete Relationship: Coaching Attributes Effect on Athletes. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from
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