The Influence of Coach Optimism on Athlete Development in Intercollegiate Sport (pp. 101-113)
Authors: Gloria B. Solomon
Abstract: The role of the coach in athlete development has generated great interest among researchers. One area of inquiry involves the criteria coaches utilize to assess athlete ability. Using the framework of expectancy theory, scholars have found that coaches rely on a diverse array of factors to judge athlete competence including both physical and psychological dimensions. While we know what criteria coaches are using to evaluate their athletes, there is scant information on personality factors that might influence the evaluative process. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the influence of coach optimism on criteria used to evaluate athlete ability. The secondary purpose was to explore expectancy source patterns by sport type and gender. From a sample of 93 coaches, results suggest that optimistic coaches prioritize factors related to Coachability. Furthermore, basketball coaches rate Physical Ability significantly higher than golf coaches. No gender differences were found. These results provide concrete strategies for coach training.