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Côté, J., Bruner, M.W., Erickson, K., Strachan, L., & Fraser-Thomas, J. (2010). Athlete development and coaching. In J. Lyle & C. Cushion (Eds.), Sport coaching: Professionalization and practice (pp. 63-83). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Athlete development and
Jean Cote, Mark Bruner, Karl Erickson,
Leisha Strachan and Jessica Fraser-Thomas
There is growing concern about the healthy develop-
ment of today's children, adolescents, and young
adults. Researchers and policy makers alike have
expressed distress and alarm around issues such as
the growing epidemic of childhood obesity (Tremblay
et al 2002), increases in adolescents' problem beha-
viours (Igra &Irwin Jr 1996), and young adults' failure
to develop initiative and become productive members
of society (Larson 2000). While acknowledging these
challenges, researchers in developmental psychology
have proposed that young people's strengths need to
be fostered appropriately for optimal development to
occur (Peterson 2004). Given that young people
spend almost half their waking hours in leisure (Larson
Verma 1999), organised leisure activities have been
suggested as an effective vehicle to promote positive
development (Larson 2000). In particular, sport has
consistently been found to be the most popular and
time-consuming organised leisure activity in which
young people participate (e.g. Eccles
Barber 1999,
Hansen &Larson 2007).
However, not all children, adolescents, and
young adults have positive experiences in sport pro-
grams. While an extensive body of literature associ-
ates sport involvement with positive experiences
and outcomes, a considerable body of literature also
associates sport involvement with negative experi-
ences and outcomes. Specifically, sport has been
linked to increased self-esteem, confidence, citizen-
ship, academic achievement, and decreased delin-
quency (e.g. Mahoney 2000, Broh 2002) as well as
increased aggression, alcohol consumption, stress,
©2010, Elsevier Ltd.
dropout, burnout, and low morality reasoning and
self-esteem (e.g. Shields &Bredemeier 1995,
Gould et al 1996, Eccles
Barber 1999)_ Further,
negative experiences in sport such as lack of playing
time, negative coach experiences, and pre sure to
win have consistently been associated
in youth sport settings (Weiss
Williams 2(04).
Researchers in both sport and developmental psy-
chology emphasise the coaches' critical role in pro-
moting athletes' healthy development through sport.
For example, the essential role of coaches, as well as
parents, sport programmers, and policy makers is
highlighted by Fraser-Thomas et al (20<n- These
authors argue that delivering positive developmental
experiences and outcomes is dependent on conduct-
ing programs in appropriate settings tha consider
developmental stage, and aim to develop personal
attributes. Similarly, researchers in developmental
psychology (e.g. Lerner et al 2000, Benson et al 2(06)
consistently highlight supportive relationships, rela-
tionships with adults, appropriate role models, and
connections with community members as elements of
youth activity contexts that facilitate positive develop-
ment. Moreover, Peterson (2004) points out that while
youth development programs such as sports have the
potential to 'build a better kid' (p 9), it is the personal
characteristics of group leaders that are critical for the
success of all youth development programs.
However, clear guidelines for coaches aiming to
optimise athletes' development through sport have
been lacking (Petitpas et al 2005). Youth sport coa-
ches have been left largely on their own to develop
their coaching styles (Gilbert
Trudel 2004), while
more expert coaches have received little formal
Sports Coaching
training related to athlete development (Erickson
et al
Coaches clearly have the powerful and
unique potential to influence athletes' development
(Poczwardowski et al
but significantly more
understanding of appropriate athlete-centred coach-
ing is necessary to ensure that coaches are positively
influencing athletes' development.
The purpose of this chapter therefore, is to dis-
cuss and highlight coaches' roles in the development
of athletes of different ages and competitive levels in
sport. The positive youth development literature sug-
gests that the base of healthy development in sport
lies in favourable relationships between participants
and coaches, with coaches supporting and promoting
healthy growth and excellence. In this context,
coaching excellence should be defined by the highly
variable roles that coaches assume and should reflect
the quality of the constant personal exchanges and
interactions between athletes and their coaches in
training and competition settings. Consequently,
research that focuses on what coaches do and think
is valuable and important; however, this descriptive
work is often not carried out against the backdrop
of athlete outcomes. There are already several
reviews of research on the impact of the coaching
process (CcM et al
Potrac et al
Cushion et al
and the aim of this chapter is
to repeat the work
covered in these. Instead we focus on research that
links athletes' outcomes and coaches' practices, using
athlete age and competitive level as a framework.
Specifically this chapter: (a) summarises coaching
frameworks related to athlete development, (b) pro-
poses a modified coaching model centred around
athletes' development, (c) proposes a typology of
coaches based on athletes' age, competitive levels,
and developmental needs, (d) discusses research on
athletes' developmental needs within each coaching
typology, and (e) outlines practical implications for
coaches within each typology, in order to foster ath-
letes' development.
Coaching frameworks related
to athletes' development
Empirical research has led to the conceptualisation
of various frameworks that focus on the outcomes
of coach and athlete interactions in sport (e.g.
Smoll &Smith
Cote et al
I -). The Multidimensional Model of Leadership
4) has generated a large number of
studies on coaching effectiveness and athletes' out-
comes. The central component of the Multidimen-
sional Model of Leadership features three states
of coaches' behaviours: (a) actual behaviours, (b) ath-
letes' preferred behaviours, and (c) yequired beha-
viours. Three 'antecedent'~i6" lab~lled as the
characteristics of the coach, athletes, and situation
influence these coaching behaviours. The model sug-
gests that performance and satisfaction are positively
related to the degree of congruence among the three
states of coach behaviours. To test the model,
Chelladurai and Saleh
developed the Leader-
ship Scale for Sport (LSS). The LSS has been used
extensivelyto assessthe influence of selected variables
such as gender, age, or personality on perceived and/or
preferred coach behaviours, and the congruence
between perceived and preferred leadership in rela-
tion to athletes' performance and/or satisfaction
It is important to note
that the LSS is a psychometric instrument that
assesses a limited scope of coaching behaviours.
Furthermore, the relationships specified in the multi-
dimensional model have primarily focused on adult
competitive sports. For detailed reviews ofthe studies
conducted using the Multidimensional Model of
Leadership and the LSS see CheUadurai
Chelladurai and Riemer
Smoll and Smith
proposed the media-
tional model of leadership to investigate coaching
behaviours and athletes' outcomes, based on find-
ings gathered with the Coaching Behaviour Assess-
ment System (CBAS) (Smith et al
A distinguishing feature of the CBAS is its focus
on youth sport coaches. Further, in addition to the
coach, athlete, and situational factors, the model
specifies that coach behaviours are influenced by
players' perceptions and recall, coaches' perceptions
of players' attitudes, and players' evaluative reac-
tions. Smoll and Smith suggest a series of coach,
athlete, and situational variables such as coaches'
goals/motives, athletes' levels of self-esteem, and
the level of competition are likely to affect coaches'
and players' behaviours. Although, specific coaching
behaviours have been linked to positive and negative
outcomes in young athletes, the specific context of
the studies conducted with the mediational model
of leadership is limited to the youth sport environ-
ment. For a thorough review of the literature using
the CBAS see Smith and Smoll
The Coaching Model (CM) (Cote et al
provides another useful model to conceptualise the
variables that should be considered in designing an
Athlete development and coaching
optimal learning environment for athlete develop-
ment. The CM identifies the conceptual and opera-
tional knowledge of coaching and was developed
around the following six components: (a) competi-
tion, (b) training, (c) organisation, (d) coach's per-
sonal characteristics, (e) athletes' characteristics,
and (f] contextual factors. The CM can be divided
into two levels of variables: those that
actual coaching behaviours and that have a direct
influence on athletes' development (Le. competi-
tion, training, and organisation) and those that
coaching behaviours (i.e. coach's personal character-
istics, athletes' characteristics, and contextual
factors). The CM has been used as a conceptual
framework for several studies conducted with
coaches and athletes (e.g. Cote &Salmela 1996,
Gilbert &Trudel 2000, Cote &Sedgwick 2003).
Furthermore, the Coaching Behaviour Scale for
Sport (CBS-S) (Cote et a11999) was developed from
items based around the behavioural components
of the CM. The CBS-S is an evaluative instrument
of coaches' work, beneficial both for research and
intervention with coaches at the competitive level
Cote 2006).
The theoretical frameworks proposed by Chella-
durai (1984), Smoll and Smith (1989), and Cote
and colleagues (1995) share common variables. The
three models propose that the athletes' characteris-
tics, the coach's characteristics, and the context are
determinants of coach-athlete interactions. The
way coach-athlete interactions are conceptualised in
each model is, however, different, and characterises
diverse methodological approaches. Each model
described above can, however, be incorporated into
a more comprehensive framework that highlights
the centrality of athletes' personal characteristics
and the centrality of athletes' desired outcomes that
result from the interaction of coaches and athletes in
sport settings.
The Coaching Model revisited
More recently, Cote and colleagues (Cote 2006, Cote
Gilbert 2007) systematically defined the main
components and variables of the CM by providing a
thorough description of the six main components of
the model (competition, training, organisation,coach's
personal characteristics, athletes' characteristics, and
contextual factors). Using a cognitive approach, these
components and their specific relationships were
organised to explain how coaches work towards their
objective of 'developing athletes'. Generally, the
coaches evaluated their personal characteristics [i.e.,
what they could and could not do), the athletes' and/
or team's characteristics, and additional contextual
influences, in order to have an estimation of athletes'
potential. This estimation, or 'mental model', wasthen
used as a basis to define which coaching knowledge
and behaviours were important for use in competition,
training, and organisation. The notion of mental mod-
els was used to link coaches' knowledge to their actual
behaviours, and interactions with athletes.
One component of the CM that has yet to be
described is the actual objective of coache , defined
generally as 'developing athletes' (Cote et al 1995).
The positive youth development literature provides
different frameworks that could be used for con-
ceptualising the development of athletes from
a coaching perspective. In particular, the -Cs -
Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character,
and Caring/Compassion (Lerner et al 2000) - can
be hypothesised as desirable outcomes tha should
emerge from the interactions of coaches and ath-
letes in a sporting environment. A general definition
of the 5Cs according to Jelici and colleagues (Jelici
et al 2007) is provided in Table 5.1. In this chapter,
discussion of the 5Cs will centre on a collapsed
framework of 4Cs (Competence, Confidence, Con-
nection, Character/Caring) and hereon i will be
referred to as the 4Cs. This step was taken in
response to the integration of caring and compas-
sion within the character development
in sport (HeIlison 1995, Shields . Bredemeier
1995) and the general relatedness of the e three
constructs (Le., character, caring, and compas-
sion). A brief overview of each of the -tCs may be
informative at this point to offer theore ical and
empirical support for the inclusion of each one
as a developmental outcome and as a focus for
Self-determination theory (Deci . Ryan 1985)
asserts that humans have a basic psychological need
for competence, which can be defined as individuals'
perceptions of their abilities in specific domains (e.g.
academic, athletic, physical, social) (Weiss
1996). Social contexts that support the satisfaction
of competence are proposed to facilitate growth and
intrinsically motivated behaviour, while those that
hinder competence are associated with poorer moti-
vation, performance, and well-being (Deci
Sports Coaching
Table 5.1 'Working definitions' of the 5Gs of positive youth development
A positive view of one's actions in domain-specific areas including social, cognitive, academic, and
vocational. Social competence pertains to interpersonal skills (e.g., conflict resolution). Cognitive
competence pertains to cognitive abilities (e.g., decision making). Academic competence includes school
grades, attendance, and test scores. Vocational competence involves work habits and career choice
An internal sense of overall positive self-worth and self-efficacy; one's global self-regard, as opposed
to domain-specific beliefs
Positive bonds with people and institutions that are reflected in bidirectional exchanges between the
individual and peers, family, school, and community, in which both parties contribute to the relationship
Character Respect for societal and cultural rules, possession of standards for correct behaviours, a sense of right
and wrong (morality), and integrity
Caring or compassion A sense of empathy and sympathy for others
2000). Within the youth sport and developmental
psychology literature, higher perceptions of compe-
tence are associated with a number of salient out-
comes including: (a) greater intrinsic motivation,
higher levels of achievement, (c) more positive
achievement-related cognitions (e.g. self-esteem)
and behaviours (e.g., effort, persistence), (d) higher
levels of positive affect (e.g. happiness), and
(e) lower levels of negative affect (e.g. anxiety ) (see
Weiss &Ebbeck 1996, Weiss &Ferrer-Caja 2002
for reviews).
Confidence can be defined as the degree of certainty
individuals possess about their ability to be successful
(Feltz &Chase 1998). This construct can be viewed
in relation to a particular context (i.e. task self-
efficacy) (Maddux 1995) or it can be viewed more
generally to encompass a number of domains (Horn
2004). According to Jelici et al's (2007) broader con-
ceptualisation, confidence represents an individual's
global self-worth. In the developmental psychology
literature, low levels of self-worth among children
and adolescents have been associated with depres-
sion, suicide ideations, eating disorders, antisocial
behaviours, delinquency, and teen pregnancy (see
reviews by Mecca et al 1989, Harter 1999). Within
- e
sport domain, confidence has been identified as
fragile and critical to the cognitions, affect,
viours of athletes (see Vealey
Humans hold a 'pervasive drive' to form and main-
tain lasting, positive interpersonal relationships
which originates from an innate, fundamental need
for belonging (Baumeister &Leary 1995). Self-
determination theory identifies this psychological
need as relatedness, the need to feel connected
and cared for, and the need to be close to others
and one's community (Deci
Ryan 1985). Within
the sport psychology literature, there is a growing
body of research that supports the importance of
connections that young people have with significant
others (e.g. peers, coaches) in contributing to well-
being (see Jowett &Poczwardowski 2007, Smith
2007 for reviews).
Sport has long been celebrated as an activity that
builds character. However, sport has also been the
subject of much criticism, often being viewed as
a pursuit that undermines character (Weiss &Smith
2002b). The distinct, opposing views of character
development in sport have led to a considerable
amount of research (see Weiss et al 2007 for a
review). In the sport literature, character develop-
ment is often discussed in terms of moral develop-
ment and sportspersonship. The final C of caring!
compassion is commonly viewed as a goal of moral
development. Past work highlighting the potential
impact of sport in fostering moral development, has
Athlete development and coaching
led to the implementation of a number of initiatives
and interventions such as Personal-Social Responsibil-
ity (Hellison 1995).
By integrating the 4Cs into the CM, the model
is strengthened by providing concrete outcomes
that coaches should aim to develop in their athletes.
This integration re-affirms the three key variables
that must be considered in any kind of coaching
environment: the coach's personal characteristics,
the athletes' personal characteristics, and other con-
textual factors. In particular, individuals who are
initiated into coaching come from different back-
grounds, experiences, and knowledge (i.e. the coach's
personal characteristics). Second, coaches work with
athletes who vary in terms of age, developmental
level, and goals(i.e.the athletes' personal characteris-
tics). Finally, coaches work in various types of con-
texts with varying resources, equipment, and
facilities (i.e. contextual factors). As in the original
model, one can see that any changes in one of these
three key variables may affect the learning environ-
ment and the interactions that a particular coach
may have with his or her athletes, thus affecting ath-
letes' development in training, competition, and
organisation settings. Although the coach's personal
characteristics and the contextual factors are impor-
tant in affecting coaching, any coaching system
should start by examining the varying developmental
needs of athletes of different ages and competitive
levels. Figure 5.1 is an adaptation of the original CM
emphasising the athletes' personal characteristics as
the foundation of coaching effectiveness and high-
lighting the specific developmental outcomes (i.e.
that should be facilitated through an ath-
lete's sport involvement. In the section that follows,
a typology of coaches, which is built on athletes'
developmental needs at various ages and competitive
levels, is proposed.
4 Cs
• Competence
• Confidence
• Connection
• Character/caring
Figure 5.1 •
An adaptationof the originalCM
A coaching typology built on
the Developmental Model of
Sport Participation
A recent review of the sport psychology literature
Stambulova 2007) identified a num-
ber of models of athlete development in sport. One
of the models, the Developmental Model of Sport
Participation (DMSP), highlights the importance of
developmentally appropriate training patterns and
social influences (Cote 1999, Cote et al 2003, Cote
et al 2007a, Cote
Fraser-Thornas 2007). The
DMSP proposes three possible sport participation
trajectories: (a) recreational participation through
sampling; Cb) elite performance through sampling;
and (c) elite performance through early specialisa-
tion. The different stages within each trajectory
are based on changes in the type and amount of
involvement in sport activities and also highlight
the changing roles of social influences [i.e., parents,
coaches, peers) at each stage of development. In par-
ticular the DMSP differentiates the amounts of two
types of sport activities - deliberate play and deliber-
ate practice. Cote (1999) defined 'deliberate play' as
sporting activities that are intrinsically motivating,
provide immediate gratification, and are specifically
designed to maximise enjoyment. Deliberate play
activities such as street hockey or backyard soccer
are regulated by rules modified according to the
needs of the participants and typically monitored
by the participants themselves. In contrast, Ericsson
et al (1993) defined deliberate practice activities as
structured activities typical of organised sport, with
the goal of improving performance and often strictly
monitored by the coach.
The DMSP proposes that recreational partici-
pation and elite performance through sampling
have the same activity and training foundation
from ages 6 to 12 (i.e. sampling years). After the
sampling years, sport participants can either
choose to stay involved in sport at a recreational
level (i.e. recreational years, ages 13+) or embark
on a path that focuses primarily on performance
(i.e. specialising years, ages 13-15; investment
years, ages 16+). While these two distinct trajec-
tories have different outcomes in terms of perfor-
mance, the aim of each path should be to yield
similar personal developmental outcomes in
young athletes (i.e. 4Cs) through appropriate,
research-based coaching strategies.
Sports Coaching
Cote et al (2007b) proposed a typology of four
different categories of coaches based on develop-
mentally appropriate sport contexts as outlined by
the DMSP: (a) participation coaches for children
(sampling years); (b) participation coaches for ado-
lescents (recreational years); (c) performance coa-
ches for young adolescents (specialising years); and
(d) performance coaches for older adolescents and
adults (investment years). Each of the four cate-
gories of coaches according to this typology is elabo-
rated upon in the sections that follow. In particular,
the athletes' developmental needs in the areas of
competence, confidence, connection, and charac-
ter/caring are discussed, and implications for coaches
are explored.
Four categories of coaching:
athletes' developmental needs
and implications for coaches
Participation coaches for children
Sampling years
The sampling years of the DMSP (ages 6-12),
encompassing middle to late childhood, provide the
foundation for both the recreational participation
and elite performance through sampling trajectories.
Characterised by participation in or 'sampling' of a
number of different sports as opposed to specialising
in one sport year-round, the sampling years usually
involve high amounts of deliberate play and lower
amounts of deliberate practice.
For children to develop physical competence during
the sampling years, it is important that they engage
in a variety of fundamental physical and cognitive
skills associated with later sporting ability (Martin-
dale et al 2005). These fundamental skills are not
sport-specific and are not usually developed through
deliberate practice in any single sport, as deliberate
practice is typically characterised by a relatively lim-
ited range of required movements and decisions
(Cote 2007). In judging their own physical compe-
tence, Harter (1999) noted that children tend to
start with an overall sense of physical competence
based on concrete and observable skills and abilities,
generally taking an all-or-none evaluative approach
(i.e. either 'good' or 'bad'). In later childhood,
young athletes progress to a more differentiated
perception of competence.
Thus, in order to develop feelings of physical
competence, children in the sampling years need
to be developing fundamental skills, and having con-
crete mastery experiences with tangible outcomes
(Chase 1998). The direct promotion of deliberate
play may be an effective way for coaches to address
these developmental needs in sport. High amounts
of deliberate play can provide children with the
diversity and freedom to try new and alternative
approaches necessary for fundamental skill develop-
ment [Wiersma 2000, Cote 2007), while the child-
centred nature of deliberate play (i.e., modified
rules, focus on enjoyment) allows children many
opportunities to experience success.
Recent work in the field of talent development has
suggested that competence at very young ages is most
often not predictive of future ability (Martindale et al
2005). In Bloom's (1985) landmark study of talent
development, very few elite-level performers
reported a similar elite level of performance in
relation to their peers at age 11 or 12. Kaplan
(1996) echoed this sentiment, noting that perfor-
mance in childhood is an unreliable predictor of
future performance. As such, an inclusive focus as
opposed to a focus on selection of only the most
physically competent top performers appears the
most appropriate developmental approach during
the sampling years (Martindale et al 2007).
It is important to note that substantial changes in
children's sources of information used to judge
physical or athletic competence occur during the
sampling years (Horn
Weiss 1991, Weiss et al
1997). In particular, children first become capable
of peer comparison during this stage. Further, while
children initially take adult feedback as in indepen-
dent source of information, adult feedback is gradu-
ally integrated with feedback from other sources
during this time (i.e. peer comparison), such that it
is no longer automatically taken at face value (Horn
2004). Use of performance outcomes as a source of
competence information also develops from middle
to late childhood. It is only in later childhood when
young people develop the ability to integrate a num-
ber of different sources of personal competence
information that they are able to separate their own
competence from team performance (Horn 2004).
Therefore, as children develop, they need individua-
lised competence information from adults that is
positive, but that is also realistic in relation to what
they can observe through peer comparison.
Athlete development and coaching
Past research by Smith, Smoll and colleagues
(see Smith
Smoll 2007 for a review) has exam-
ined coaches for their provision of individualised
competence information. Their work found strong
support for the positive influence of coach support-
iveness and instructiveness and for the negative
effects of punitive coach behaviour. These findings
were further validated through intervention studies
implementing a coach training program (Coach
Effectiveness Training: CET) (Smith et al 1979,
Smoll 2002). Coaches trained to be more
supportive and to provide more technical instruc-
tion with limited use of punishment were consis-
tently found to produce more positive outcomes
related to perceived competence and confidence in
their athletes (i.e. lower competitive anxiety, higher
self-esteem) than untrained coaches (Smith
Smoll 2007).
Children's confidence, equated with a global sense
of self-esteem or self-worth, and associated with
feelings of competence, begins as a behavioural
pattern during the sampling years (Hart er 1990).
Specifically, children thought to exhibit high self-
confidence express a behaviour pattern characterised
by curiosity, initiative, and independence, as well as a
capacity for flexibility in response to environmental
change. Thus, children in the sampling years need
to be encouraged to demonstrate curiosity, initiative,
and independence. The intrinsic motivation asso-
ciated with deliberate play is characterised by and
encourages this behavioural pattern (Ryan
2000). As such, deliberate play is a potentially fruit-
ful means by which to develop children's confidence.
Judgements of self-worth may also be significantly
influenced by goal orientations in sport (Duda 1993),
given the increasing awareness of peer comparison
that children develop during the sampling years. Chil-
dren employing an ego-orientation, with a focus on
evaluating competence in relation to the performance
of others, may be at an increased risk for damage to
self-confidence, especially in the presence of more
skilled peers. In contrast, the confidence of children
with a task-orientation, whereby competence is evalu-
ated according to self-referenced improvement and
effort, may be more resilient to fluctuations in relative
performance. This resilient confidence may, in turn,
encourage persistence in skill learning efforts and
increased perceptions of competence (Harwood et al
Given the positive influence of a task goal-
orientation on confidence and competence in
childhood, the promotion of such an orientation in
children's sport contexts is of utmost importance.
In particular, the development of a task orientation
in individuals has been linked to a perceived mas-
tery motivational climate as created by the coach
(Harwood et al 2008). A mastery climate is one in
which improvement, effort, and learning are valued
and rewarded (Ames 1992). A performance climate,
on the other hand, is one in which evaluation is rela-
tive to others and defeating others is of primary
importance. Treasure (2001) suggests that a mas-
tery-oriented motivational climate can be created
in children's sport, in accordance with Epstein's
(1989) TARGET model:
that are diverse and
appropriately challenging,
that is flexible
and allows for children's input,
that is
private and personal,
that are varied and
heterogeneous in ability,
that is self-refer-
enced and considers fun, effort, and participation,
that provides an appropriate pace of
instruction and adequate time for tasks.
Positive peer relationships and friendships have
been identified as a key reason why man; children
participate in sport (Scanlan et al 1993, \ eiss
1993). These early peer relationships and friend-
ships also play a critical role in the development of
vital social skills, such as intersubjectiviry or shared
understanding (Goncu 1993). During the sampling
years, children tend to define friendship quality
according to characteristics related to loyalty,
mutual liking, and helping or taking care of each other
Bagwell 1995). However, Zarbatany
and colleagues (1992) noted that children's friendship
expectations differ by context. Within the sport con-
text, Weiss, Smith, and Theeboom
found that
loyalty and prosocial behaviour were rated as most
important by children under 12.
Thus, to promote the development of positive
peer connections, children in the sampling years need
the time and opportunity to develop friendships.
In developing these friendships, children need
encouragement to demonstrate loyalty and prosocial
helping behaviours. The child-driven nature of delib-
erate play (Cote 1999) can provide opportunities for
both positive peer interaction and the demonstration
of prosocial behaviours by encouraging cooperation
and recognition of the needs and abilities of others.
Sports Coaching
In addition to connections with peers, connections
with adults are also important during the sampling
years. Parents are typically the individuals of most
influence in children's lives (Siegler et al Z003). With
regard to sport participation, parents in the sampling
years '... have a greater and more lasting effect on
children's sport involvement than in other periods
of development' (Wylleman et al Z007 p 239). As
such, the positive participation and supportive
involvement of parents in their children' sport
experiences should be encouraged. Further, this
may help to ensure consistency of developmental
messages across contexts, what Benson and collea-
gues (Z006) refer to as developmental redundancy.
Finally, while parents tend to be most influential
in children's lives overall, coaches are the primary
adults in the sport setting and their connections
with young athletes should not be overlooked. Posi-
tive relationships with coaches are predictive of
children's enjoyment of their sport participation
(Scanlan et al 1993), while negative feedback
and lack of interaction have been linked to non-
enjoyment (McCarthy
Jones Z007). As such,
active coaches who promote positive relationships
with their young athletes are essential to develop-
ing healthy coach connections (Smith
It has been argued that sport participation can lead
to both positive and negative character development
Bredemeier 1995), a consideration of
utmost importance for children in the sampling
years who are still developing their moral reasoning
skills and abilities. Siegler and colleagues (Z003)
suggest that the primary environmental influence
on the development of prosocial behaviour in chil-
dren is socialisation through interactions with signif-
icant adults. This socialization takes three general
forms: (a) modelling and communication of values;
(b) opportunities for prosocial activities; and
(c) discipline style (i.e. reasoning and drawing atten-
tion to consequences of behaviour for others). In
the sport
Shields and Bredemeier (1995)
posit that compassion, a key component of moral
character, is manifested through the psychological
competencies of role taking, perspective taking,
and empathy. Similar to the socialisation of proso-
cial behaviour, Shields and Bredemeier argue that
leaders in sport settings (i.e. coaches) can promote
the development of these competencies through
their interaction style and the appropriate structur-
ing of activities. Thus, in order to develop character
and caring, children in the sampling years need
positive role models, interactions with adults that
promote moral reasoning, and opportunities to
demonstrate character and caring.
Deliberate play may again provide a fertile con-
text to demonstrate character and caring. The intrin-
sically motivating structure and emphasis on fun
typical of deliberate play (Cote 1999) may promote
a more adaptive and ethical view of competition,
whereby focus is placed on the process of competing
to the best of one's abilities rather than on the out-
come of competition (Hochstetler Z003). Sport is
inherently competitive; however, competition dur-
ing childhood should not lead to negative character
development (e.g. Eccles
Barber 1999) unless
the outcome is over-emphasized and instrumental
antisocial behaviours are subsequently more likely
to be justified.
The development of character and caring in chil-
dren may also be facilitated by goal orientation and
climate. By defining success as competing to the
best of one's own abilities, opponents may be more
likely to be seen as fellow competitors, necessary
for the game or competition to occur (Harwood
et al Z008). In contrast, an increase in ego-orienta-
tion may promote the view of opposition as enemy,
standing in the way of the desired outcome. With
this ego-oriented perspective, one may therefore
feel more justified in demonstrating unsportsper-
sonship-like behaviour, or injurious acts towards
the opposition in order to win (Harwood et al
Below are five strategies emerging from the litera-
ture that highlight how coaches can facilitate the
4Cs in athletes during the sampling years, through
appropriate competition, training, and organisational
strategies. First, coaches can best encourage chil-
dren's development by structuring competition and
training to include high amounts of deliberate play.
Second, coaches should promote a mastery-oriented
motivational climate through the use of Epstein's
(1989) TARGET activity guidelines (discussed ear-
lier). Third, in implementing these strategies, coa-
ches should seek to interact with their athletes in
a supportive and instructive manner, while limiting
punitive interactions. Fourth, with regard to organi-
sation, coaches should include parents in positive
Athlete development and coaching
and supportive roles. Finally, coaches should adopt
an inclusive developmental focus, as opposed to an
exclusive team selection policy based on current per-
formances, to provide all children with opportunities
to develop the 4Cs.
Participation coaches for
Recreational years
Adolescent participants electing not to pursue an
elite developmental trajectory but remaining
involved in sport seek a context that promotes
fun, challenge and enjoyment (Cote et al 2007a).
To this end, participation coaches for adolescents
must be cognisant of the specific developmental
and contextual needs of their athletes. This may
be particularly relevant for participation coaches,
as their young athletes are in a critical period of
growth and development, and engaging in a number
of activities to build their personal identity (Wagner
1996). As such, the 4Cs framework (Jelicic et al
2007) can once again serve to help coaches identify
adolescent's developmental needs.
An adolescent's perceived abilities or competence
have been found to be associated with a number of
positive outcomes in several domains including sport
(see Weiss
Ebbeck 1996, Weiss
2002 for reviews). As a child moves into adoles-
cence, he or she begins to integrate competence
information from various sources, with a greater
emphasis on information from peers and coaches
Weiss 1991, Weiss et alI997). Young ado-
lescents' perceptions of competence develop as a
function of two separate but interrelated factors:
cognitive maturation and social-cultural environment.
The contextual setting of sport can be critical to an
adolescent's cognitive maturation. This is exempli-
fied particularly by adolescents' differentiation of
self-competence into several sub-domains. Specifi-
cally, teenagers begin to compartrnentalise them-
selves as being 'different' people in the different
domains. This ability to develop higher-order
abstractions about self permits adolescents to evalu-
ate themselves as having differing levels of ability in
different contexts. For example, athletes may feel
competent in one sport (e.g. basketball) yet not in
another (e.g. soccer) or view themselves as being
competent in one skill (e.g. jump shot) but not in
another (e.g. lay-up). However, this developmental
process is not seamless, and frequently involves ado-
lescents reconciling 'cognitive confusion' of one self
(Harter 1999). It is during these trying times that
young athletes look to their social-cultural environ-
ment, specifically the feedback of significant others
such as coaches and peers, to resolve conflicting
information about the self.
Another related developmental construct of self is
confidence. Jelicic and colleagues (2007) operationa-
use confidence as a global construct such as self-
worth. As previously outlined, low levels of self-worth
among adolescents have been linked to a number of
negative outcomes such as depression, delinquency,
and antisocial behaviours (see reviews by . Iecca et al
1989, Harter 1999). Based upon studies in school set-
tings' physical appearance and social acceptance are
primary personal antecedents of global self-confidence
at this age (Harter 1999). As such, it is critically
important that adolescents' sport environments foster
a culture of social acceptance of all tearnmates, and
intolerance of negative comments directed toward a
young athlete's physical appearance.
During adolescence, positive ties with peer become
increasingly important as young people develop per-
sonal identity and a sense of self (Harter 1999,
Pugh 1999). In a sport setting, peers
are particularly important given their direct involve-
ment in most young athlete' day- o-day experi-
ences. Quite surprisingly, research inve
ating the
developmental significance of peer connections and
relationships in sport is relatively underdeveloped
Stuntz 2006, Smith 200-). As such, con-
siderable theoretically driven research is needed to
understand the role of peer relationships (i.e. peer
acceptance, friendship) on a young athlete's devel-
opment (Weiss
Stuntz 2006).
Alongside the salient role of peers, adolescents'
connections with their families and schools are
important. Adolescents' perceptions of family close-
ness or cohesion have been found to be positively
associated with a number of health-promoting beha-
viours (e.g. decreased alcohol usage) (Bray et al
2001), and negatively associated with adolescent
problem behaviours (e.g. delinquency, aggression)
Sports Coaching
Buehler 1996). Further adolescents'
school cohesion, operationalised as the level of
mutual support, belonging, and connectedness of
the school, has been found to offer a protective,
moderating effect for adolescents experiencing low
family and peer support (Botcheva et al 2002).
However, similar to the lack of research on peers
in sports, additional research is necessary to further
explore the role of family and school connections on
the development of the young athlete.
Over the last decade, the athlete-coach relation-
ship has received a considerable amount of attention
in the literature. Several conceptual models have been
proposed (e.g., LaVoi 2004, Jowett 2005) highlight-
ing the importance of the connections between the
coach and athlete (see Jowett
2007 for a review). LaVoi's (2004) conceptual frame-
work of coach-athlete relationships proposes how
feelings of belonging and close, inter-dependent rela-
tionships with coaches and teammates lead to ath-
letes' healthy psychological development. Jowett's
(2005) integrated model of coach-athlete relations
also includes the psychological construct of closeness.
Jowett (2007) describes closeness as the affective
component of the coach-athlete relationship that is
reflected in mutual feelings of trust and respect.
While there is a need for significantly more research
on connections in adolescent sport context, it is clear
that the supportive, dynamic, and diverse connections
of athletes with their peers, coaches, families, and
wider communities are an essential component of
adolescents' healthy development in their sport
Research on adolescents has shown that experiences
in sport can promote prosocial behaviour and reduce
antisocial behaviours (e .g. aggression, lack of respon-
sibility) (Weiss et al 2007). Two primary theoretical
perspectives dominate the field: (a) social learning
theory (Bandura 1986) and (b) structural develop-
ment approaches (Weiss et al 2007). In brief, social
learning theory suggests that moral development is
learned through individuals' interactions with socia-
lising agents such as adults and peers. Specifically,
appropriate behaviours that conform to societal
norms and regulations occur as a result of modelling
and reinforcement from significant others (e.g.
adults, peers). Social learning theory identifies self-
regulation skills as being critical in displaying moral
behaviour. These self-regulating skills include
monitoring, judgement, evaluation, strong beliefs in
one's capabilities to achieve personal control, and
self-regulatory efficacy to adhere to moral standards
(Weiss et al 2007).
Structural developmental theories focus on how
individuals reason or judge values and behaviour
(Weiss et al 2007). Shields and Bredemeier (1995)
proposed a conceptual model that outlines factors
that may explain variations in moral thoughts and
behaviours in physical activity and sport settings.
Within the model, Shields and Bredemeier identify
several important contextual factors that coaches
can modify to play a vital role in shaping young ath-
letes' moral thoughts and behaviours. Two salient
contextual factors include moral atmosphere and
motivational climate. A considerable amount of
research has investigated the influence that moral
atmosphere, conceptualised as team norms, can have
on adolescent athletes' beliefs about appropriate and
inappropriate behaviour [e.g., Smith 1974, Stephens
et al 1997, Stephens 2000). As previously discussed,
motivational climate typically identifies what is
recognised, rewarded and emphasised within the
context of the team environment (Ames 1992). A
mastery-oriented climate generally emphasises
effort, improvement, and personal mastery, while a
performance-oriented climate focuses more on peer
comparison and final outcome. Several studies with
youth soccer teams (e.g. Ommundsen et al 2003,
Miller et al 2005) have found support for partici-
pants' perceptions of a more mastery-oriented
motivational climate being associated with higher
levels of moral-reasoning and a more performance-
oriented climate being associated with lower level
of moral reasoning (e.g. greater perceived legitimacy
of aggression and injurious acts).
Along with the identified contextual factors,
Shields and Bredemeier's (1995) model suggests a
number of individual factors such as moral reasoning,
achievement goal-orientation, moral identity, and
self-regulation skills as essential for understanding
moral development in sport. The early work of
Bredemeier and Shields (l984, 1986) on moral
reasoning in sport led to the introduction of several
key concepts such as game reasoning or bracketing
one's morals in a sport setting (e.g. legitimising aggres-
sion in pursuit of winning}. Individuals' achievement
goal orientations (i.e. task versus ego) (Duda 1993)
have also been linked to moral attitudes, intentions,
and behaviours. Research examining the linkages
between goal orientations and sportsperson-like atti-
tudes have consistently found that young athletes
Sports Coaching
those of recreational adolescent athletes. As an
increased number of young athletes are specialising
in sport (Gould
Carson 2004), further compre-
hension of what constitutes a healthy training and
competition environment for this group of athletes
is of critical importance. In the sections that follow,
research related to adolescent performance athletes'
developmental needs according to the 4Cs frame-
work is reviewed.
Within elite youth sport programs, competence is a
key developmental focus. During the specialising
years, young performance athletes spend a consider-
able amount of time in deliberate practice activities,
as their training shifts to include approximately
equal amounts of deliberate practice and deliberate
play (e.g. Cote et al 2007a, CfM
2007). Deliberate practice is comprised of activities
that are repetitive, well-defined, at a level of diffi-
culty that is appropriate for the individual, and
provide opportunities for feedback, proper error
detection, and correction (Ericsson et al 1993,
Ericsson 2003). More specifically, deliberate prac-
tice activities require concerted effort with the goal
of improving performance, and are not always inher-
ently enjoyable. Ericsson et al (1993) suggest that in
order to become an expert (i.e. develop very high
levels of competence), an individual must spend
ten years or 10 000 hours in deliberate practice
activities. There has been much research support
for the deliberate practice framework in the sport
domain (e.g. Helsen et al 1998, Hodge
1998). As such, the more time an individual spends
in deliberate practice activities throughout his or
her development in sport, the higher his or her skill
level is likely to be, and thus inevitably, the more
likely athletes are to experience athletic compe-
tence (Harter 1999).
Psychological skills also play an important role in
facilitating competence development during the
specialising years. Even at a young age, athletes can
experience the benefits of psychological skillstraining
(i.e. goal setting, imagery, arousal regulation; Munroe-
Hall 2007). In fact, the earlier athletes
can learn to put psychological skills into practice, the
more effective they will be at using these skills to
enhance performance and competence.
As previously discussed, adolescence is a critical
period of transition, which must also be considered
in adolescent performance athletes' development.
While more deliberate practice will ultimately lead
to an increased skill level, there have also been nega-
tive outcomes linked to increased training for young
athletes. For example, in some cases the hours spent
in sport-specific training have been found to be not
enjoyable for young athletes (Law et al 2007). Fur-
ther, injuries appear more prevalent in young perfor-
mance athletes than their less-competitive peers
(Micheli et al 2000, Law et al 2007). Finally, burnout
has been associated with intense youth sport partici-
pation (e.g. Coakley 1992, Gould et al 1996). Three
dimensions have been found to impact young ath-
letes: reduced accomplishment, physical/emotional
exhaustion, and sport devaluation (Raedeke 1997).
This research highlights the importance of appropri-
ate sport environments to alleviate potential negative
outcomes (Raedeke
Smith 2004).
Adolescents' confidence is associated with self-per-
ceptions related to athletic competence, physical
appearance, and overall self-worth (Harter 1999).
As such, performance athletes must develop and
experience confidence, not only in specific sport
skills, but also in other domains such as social skills.
While there is a reduction of time spent in other
sport and non-sport activities (Baker et al 2003)
and a marked decrease in deliberate play activities
during the specialising years, the important role of
deliberate play activities in performance athletes'
sport of specialisation, and in other sport activities
should not be undermined. Deliberate play is impor-
tant in the growth of sport-specific skills (Cote
1999) and offers additional benefits related to talent
development including increased creativity, enjoy-
ment, and emotional regulation (Strachan et al
2008). Deliberate play activities, through their
loosely structured nature, also offer an ideal platform
for performance adolescent athletes to develop con-
fidence in their social skills such as communication
and leadership (Fraser-Thomas et aI200S).
Past research suggests that connections may be
fostered through the appropriate modeling and
mentoring of coaches (Sedgwick et al1997). In par-
ticular, high-quality coach-athlete relationships may
lead to less antisocial behaviour and more prosocial
behaviour due to the important roles coaches play
in modelling and supporting athletes (Rutten et al
2007). While a limited body of research has
Athlete development and coaching
~~--' '- -, .: .. ," ~'-~~~_;~d-~~':~~~_r;:.
explored the role of sport peers in contributing to
adolescent athletes' development, perceptions of
peer acceptance and the development of close
Friendships are critically important to youth of this
age. Specifically, friendship quality in sport is a
key factor in the development of close connections
for youth (Weiss
Smith 2002a). Further, positive
peer relationships in youth sport are closely
connected to the youth's motivation for continued
sport engagement (Patrick et al 1999, Alien 2003).
As such, more time spent in elite sport may allow
for the growth of close friendships and relationships
which may in turn lead to athletes' persistence in
their chosen sport.
Character / caring
Adolescents' participation in high-performance sports
may also facilitate character development. Character
attributes such as sportspersonship, positive values,
resilience, optimism, and a good work ethic have been
noted to be fostered through sport participation
(Gould et al2002, Fraser-Thomas et a12005). In ret-
rospective interviews with Olympic champions,
Gould and colleagues (2002) found that these elite
athletes were typified by these characteristics and
highhghted the important role that coaches played in
the emergence of these traits. Further, caring may
be viewed as a byproduct of character development.
Caring in youth sport may be observed through
athlete interactions such as displays of empathy
in both training and competitive situations (CcM
2002, Fraser-Thornas et al 2005). As empathy may
be more easily facilitated in deliberate play situations
(Strachan et a12008), the presence of play in compet-
itive youth sport programs has the potential to enable
the development of caring; however, more research
is needed to examine how caring is fostered in
high-performance youth sport.
Performance coaches for young adolescents have
unique considerations to ponder in the delivery of
high-performance programs. First, with regard
to training, coaches should increase quantities of
deliberate practice activities in order to develop
competence. In particular, coaches need to be knowl-
edgeable and have the ability to give technical correc-
tions and feedback (Smoll
Smith 2002). Further,
coaches must work to develop not only athletes'
physical skills but also cognitive skills (e.g. decision-
making, memory) (Gallagher et al 2002). However,
coaches must not forget that deliberate practice
activities should be balanced with deliberate play
activities, even for athletes of this age and level (Cote
et al 2007b). Specifically, an infusion of opportu-
nities for deliberate play enables athletes continued
motivation for sport through enjoyment. Finally,
while adolescent performance coaches should
encourage specialisation in order to build skills, they
should also allow athletes to 'sample' effectively
within their sport by encouraging them to attempt
other roles and positions, and thus allowing them
more diversity and growth in their sport experience
and skill development.
Second, through training and competition, coaches
should facilitate athletes' competence development
in other areas (i.e. psychological and ocial). This can
be achieved by training athletes' psychological skills
(e.g. imagery, goal setting) as well as through the
introduction of diverse peer groups (i.e. various age
and cultural groups). Further, coaches can provide
opportunities for recognition through sport travel
and participation in appropriate competitions (Cote
et al 2007b). Third, adolescent-performance coaches
must develop character and connections in training
and competition settings, by demonstrating leader-
ship, modelling appropriate behaviours, in eracting
closely with athletes, and fostering safe peer-peer
interactions. For example, coache should encourage
athletes to display sportspersonship an
hov .
thy to their teamrnates and other competi
Finally, from an organisational perspective there
are a number of initiatives tha adolescent-
performance coaches can undertake
develop the
4Cs in their athletes. For example, to facilitate con-
nections, character, and caring in high-performance
youth sport, coaches should deliver ocial e 'ents and
create team or club unifiers (e.g. team colors, track-
suits), establish athlete mentor programs \ ithin dubs,
link elite sport programs to other contex (e.g. school,
community) and facilitate positive growth opportu-
nities (e.g. volunteerism, civic responsibility). These
types of connections may empower athletes to contrib-
ute to the development of not only their athletic dubs,
but alsothe communities in which they live.
Performance coaches for late
adolescents and adults
Investment years
During the investment years, athletes (approxi-
mately ages 16+) usually commit to only one sport
Sports Coaching
activity and engage primarily in deliberate practice.
Athletes in the investment years are often moti-
vated by extrinsic factors such as winning, being
chosen for an international team, or establishing a
sport career. Ideally, this type of motivation should
be self-determined and integrated in the athlete's
whole life{Deci
Ryan 2000). The DMSP suggests
that elite athletes that have the resources, ability,
and desire for competitive performance at the
national or international level increase their deliber-
ate practice hours and decrease their deliberate play
hours even further during the investment years
(Cote et al 2007a). Elite-level athletes in the invest-
ment years need quality structured training in large
quantities, however this type of training should be
conducted in an environment that is conducive to
the development of the 4Cs.
Competence in elite sport necessitates the integra-
tion of several skills including motor, perceptual,
cognitive, and psychological. Larson (2000) points
to the acquisition of initiative as the essential ingre-
dient in the development of competence or efficacy
in any domain. The initiative perspective highlights
three features of competent behaviours: (a) intrinsic
motivation; Cb)the ability to mobilise one's atten-
tion on a deliberate course of action; and (c) the
ability to devote cumulative effort for a long period
of time (Larson 2000). This framework is similar to
Ericsson et al's (1993) notion of expertise through
deliberate practice, which explicitly links the
amount and type of training performed to the level
of competence attained in a specific domain.
According to Ericsson et a1 (1993) deliberate prac-
tice activities that require effort and attention do
not lead to immediate social or financial rewards
and are performed for the purpose of performance
enhancement rather than enjoyment. The ability to
accumulate the quantity and quality of training
required for competent performance in sport during
the investment years is directly linked to accessibil-
ity of essential resources such as training facilities
and coaches (Ericsson 2003).
The development of a competent elite-level ath-
lete is, however, much more than developing motor,
perceptual, cognitive, and psychological skills. Wa1ton
(1992) revealed that great coaches of elite athletes do
not simply master the teaching of their sport, but are
also champions of wisdom and understanding. The
coaches examined by Walton not only produced
excellent athletes, but also educated and contributed
to the human competence of these athletes. For
instance, all of the coaches were committed to the
athletes' integrity, values, and personal growth, and
were profound thinkers who saw themselves as edu-
cators of social values, not just trainers of physical
skills. This commitment to holistic athlete develop-
ment has recently been encouraged by coaching
researchers (e.g. Bergmann Drewe 2000, Jones 2006).
Confidence refers to an internal sense of positive
self-worth and self-efficacy (Jelicic et al 2007) and
is essential for athletes in the investment years striv-
ing towards elite performance (Sedgewick et al
1997). Studies of coaching behaviours in swimming
Weiss 1992), figure skating (Hall
1989), field hockey (Grove
Hanrahan 1988), and
wrestling (Gould et al 1987) have shown that confi-
dence building is one of the most important charac-
teristics that coaches want to hone in their athletes.
Accordingly, authors agree that the relationship
between coaches and athletes is an important deter-
minant of the way in which athletes' confidence is
affected by their participation in competitive sport
(e.g. Cote
Salmela 1996, Hays et al 2007).
Although athletes during the investment years may
appear to be autonomous and independent, they still
appreciate the attention they receive from their coa-
ches about their sport and other aspects of their life.
The coach-athlete relationship and effective commu-
nication with coaches influence athletes' confidence
and should be at the forefront of coaching strategies
in the investment years (Sedgwick et al 1997).
Deci and Ryan (2000) suggested that the develop-
ment of highly motivated, self-determined, and
invested individuals in any domain requires an envi-
ronment that provides opportunities to make autono-
mous decisions, develop competence, and feel
connected to others. Because athletes are so highly
invested during this period, coaches have a crucial
role in providing optimal learning and social condi-
tions in which athletes feel supported (Kalinowski
1985, Cote et al 1995, Salmela 1996, Cote 2002).
In general, coaches of athletes in the investment years
have been shown to provide both physical and social
resources to help athletes overcome the effort and
motivational constraints associated with deliberate
Athlete development and coaching
practice (Salmela 1996).
owett (2007) proposed
that the quality of coach-athlete relationships in
providing these resources is determined by the
degree of closeness, commitment to the relationship,
complernentarity, and eo-orientation between both
parties. An effective sporting environment during
the investment years will also support athletes' basic
need to belong to a social group whose members are
mutally supportive. To maintain a healthy perspec-
tive on sport and life, elite-level athletes in the invest-
ment years should be encouraged to constantly
nourish their relationships with their coach, peers
inside and outside of sport, community, and parents.
In the realm of elite sports, coaches have a crucial
role in enabling athletes to develop their character,
become a constructive and caring member of a
team, and ultimately, a productive member of soci-
ety. For many competitive athletes, sport stimulates
a change in social values and moral reasoning pat-
terns (Bredemeier
Shields 1996). Coaches of ath-
letes in the investment years should not 'use
languageor techniques that might encourage partici-
pants to separate their sport experiences from "real
life:" (Bredemeier
Shields p 396). Rather, like
any other sport settings, elite sports should be seen
as a medium by which social values are learned and
transferred to real life situations.
To meet athletes' training needs in the investment
years, coaches must construct a regime that is
grounded in deliberate practice. Specifically, train-
ing should be structured purposefully to improve
current performance levels and to circumvent
arrested skill development (Ericsson 2003). During
training, coaches should focus on structured drills
and activities with well-defined learning goals, pro-
vide regular feedback for skill improvement, and
create ample opportunities for repetitions. Within
the deliberate practice framework, training activ-
ities should be carefully monitored by coaches, and
coaches' interventions should be aimed at correcting
errors and improving athletes' performances. Thus,
coaches must be keenly in tune with each athlete's
skill-set and, based on systematic task analyses,
should be able to prescribe sport-specific drills
accordingly. Since deliberate practice is physically
and mentally taxing, performance coaches for late
adolescents and adults should help athletes negoti-
ate these effort constraints by scheduling proper
work-to-rest ratios and by encouraging athletes to
find time for recovery (Young
Salmela 2002).
Further, coaches should include supplementary
training activities (e.g. weight, plyornetric, aerobic
training) that are aimed at improving sport-specific
performance (Cote et al 2007b).
In competition, coaches of athletes in the invest-
ment years should promote situations that are likely
to have a direct effect on their athletes' progress
towards elite performance in their main sport and
their personal development. Although competition is
not the most important activity to improve perfor-
mance in all sports, competitive situations are critical
for the development of perceptual and decision-
making skills, skill execution, and physical fitness in
many sports (Bakeret al2003). Furthermore, through
competitive situations that lead to winninz or losing,
athletes have the opportunities to develop their 4Cs
by gaining social reinforcement and confidence,
increasing their perceived competence, developing
their character and relationships, and carin for others.
From an organisationalperspective, coaches should
surround each athlete with the physical and social
resources they will need to overcome the effort and
motivational constraints associated with deliberate
practice. Coaches should recognise that their relation-
ship with an athlete will likely chanze during the
investment years, often becoming more collaborative,
less top-down in nature, and relyingon more continu-
ous interchange of ideas between the coach and the
athlete (Kalinowski 1985, Cote
Sedgwi .
Coaches should encourage athletes to commit fully
to their one sport on a year-round basis,and the rigor-
ous training that is demanded. However, coaches
should also try to encourage athletes to stay involved
in a small amount of deliberate play activities so that
they are reminded of the intrinsic enjoyment that
results from sport participation. Coaches could also
encourage their athletes to participate in another
sport in the off-seasonfor relaxation or cross-training
purposes. Finally, coaches should acknowledge and
respect that their athletes are sacrificing other life
opportunities for their one sport, and thus should
make efforts to promote the benefits of such an
investment rather than the costs associated with it.
The effectivenessof coaches duringthe investment
years lies in their specific knowledge of the sport and
the way they transmit that knowledge in training and
in competition. By demonstrating enthusiasm in train-
ing and fostering a trainingenvironment that nurtures
Sports Coaching
athletes' learning and motivation, coaches create a
positive training environment, as illustrated in this
quote by an international level rower:
I think a coach that is willing to be in training at 5:30 in the
morning and always be there is a big motivator for an
athlete. It makes a big difference compared to a coach that
sort of comes out maybe three or four times a week and
doesn't really like coaching .. .I think if you see a coach that
is willing to do everything that you are doing, it just makes
that much more drive. I mean, you have to be down at
practice because there is someone waiting for you ... It's
nice to have a coach that's as fully motivated as you.
(Sed9wick et al 1997)
This chapter highlights the coach's role in the devel-
opment of athletes of different ages and competitive
levels. The content of this chapter focuses on research
that aligns athletes' outcomes, defined as the 4Cs, and
associated recommended coaching practice. Four
typologies of coaches initially suggested by Cote et al
(200 7b) were elaborated on: (a) participation coaches
for children; (b) participation coaches for adolescents;
(c) performance coaches for young adolescents; and
(d) performance coaches for older adolescents and
adults. These four generic types of coaches require
distinct knowledge and skill sets to meet specific ath-
letes' developmental needs. This suggests fundamen-
tal differences in the competencies that should be
acquired for coaches working in different contexts
[i.e., participation or performance, with young and
older athletes). Therefore, coach education and train-
ing should be tailored to meet the specific experien-
tial needs of individual coaches, given the context in
which they coach.
It is also important to note that, in line with the
sampling years of the DMSP (Cote
2007), we suggest that all children involved in sports
between the ages of 6 and 12 should have coaches
that focus on participation instead of performance,
minimise competition and deliberate practice, and
emphasise involvement in various sports and deliberate
play. This type of 'participation coach for children'
builds a foundation of motivation and motor skills in
children that can be translated into a sport participa-
tion or performance trajectory in the adolescent and
adult years for most sports (Cote et al 2007b).
In sports where peak performance occurs before
maturation [e.g. women's gymnastics, figure skating)
children may need to have performance coaches: how-
ever, there are costs such as dropout, burnout, and
injuries associated with a performance environment
in childhood (Baker &Cote 2006, Law et al 2007).
Generally, problems will arise when a coach's knowl-
edge and skills are associated with a context (e.g. a
competitive performance model) that is incongruous
with the contextual needs of the athletes [e.g., athletes
in the recreational category). In most cases, coaching
behaviours based on such incongruence will likely
result in athletes' dissatisfaction, dropout, burnout,
anxiety, or boredom, and a less than ideal sporting
environment (Fraser-Thomas et al2008a, 2008b).
Excellent coaches are aware of the necessity for
congruence between their own knowledge and skills
and a specific athlete's developmental needs including
competitive level and age. A coach's behaviours in
training, competition, and organisational settings
should be in line with a specific athlete's competence,
confidence, connection, and character needs (i.e., the
4Cs). Based on the literature on athletes' develop-
ment in sport, we suggest that the 4Cs are universal
needs that coaches of athletes of any competitive level
or ages should strive to develop. However, a coach's
ability to develop competence, confidence, connec-
tion, and character in athletes of different ages and
competitive levels requires different types of knowl-
edge, skills, and training. Each of the four typologies
of coaches suggests different behaviours from coaches
in training, competition, and organisation roles.
In sum, this chapter underscores the importance of
defining the athletes' development and coaching
contexts, and the congruence between the two, in
any discussion of coaching excellence.
Abraham, A., Collins, D., 1998.
Examining and extending research in
coach development. Quest 50, 59-79.
A1fermann, D., Stambulova, N., 2007.
Career transitions and career
termination. In: Tenenbaum, G.,
Eklund, R.c. [Eds.), Handbook of
sport psychology. John Wiley &
Sons, Hoboken, pp. 712-733.
Allen, J.B., 2003. Social motivation in
youth sport. Journal of Sport and
Exercise Psychology 25,551-567.
Ames, c.A., 1992. Achievement goals,
motivational climate, and
motivational processes. In:
Roberts, G.c. (Ed.), Motivation in
sport and exercise. Human Kinetics,
Champaign, pp. 161-176.
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Youth sport participants frequently report social reasons for their involvement in sport such as wanting to be part of a team or to be with friends, and social sources of positive and negative affect such as social recognition and parental pressure. Although a social view of sport has been recognized, youth sport motivation researchers have emphasized approaches centered on constructs related to physical ability and have not examined the social aspect of motivation in detail. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the contribution that social goal orientations and perceptions of belonging make toward understanding youth sport motivation. Specifically, female adolescents' (N = 100) social motivational orientations, achievement goal orientations, perceived belonging, perceived physical ability, and interest in sport were assessed. Results from multiple regression analyses indicated that social motivational constructs added to the explanation of adolescents' interest in sport.
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Research to date provides two approaches to assessing coaching expertise. The first is behavioral assessment and the second is to assess coaches' knowledge base. However, we contend that both approaches are flawed due to their inability to adequately improve coach development by failing to answer three fundamental questions: What knowledge should be taught to novice coaches? What is the optimal method for teaching this knowledge? And how should we assess to encourage learning? Cognitive psychology has demonstrated that someone with expert cognitive skill is characterized as having expert declarative and procedural knowledge. Experts are further characterized by having greater organization of this knowledge. Thus the expert is able to apply expert knowledge in a more expert manner to solve complex problems in a specific domain. Properly exploiting ideas such as these can help direct future research to provide answers to the questions posed above. © 1998 National Association for Physical Education in Higher Education.
[describes research which addresses] the following questions: how can we define the theoretical construct of a mastery goal in relation to the parameters of a particular learning environment / 1. how do the principles underlying a mastery orientation translate into instructional practices and children's experiences / 2. are students who see their classroom experiences as mastery-oriented more likely to engage in adaptive motivational patterns / 3. as students progress through school, can certain patterns of motivation become stabilized / can certain kinds of experiences over time begin to have cumulative effects on student motivation / 4. can children's motivation be enhanced by increasing the salience of a mastery orientation in the learning environment / how can we design such a field intervention / [students studied were elementary and high school students] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)