JSB 2021, 44(3) www.jounralofsportbehavior.org
Journal of Sport Behavior 2021
Vol. 44(3), 286-302
An Exploratory Study of the Use of Values by
Coaches in the Czech Republic
William Crossan 1,*, Milos Bednar 1, Timothy Baghurst 2, and Martin Komarc 1
1 Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University
2 Florida State University
* Correspondence: William.firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: June 2020; Accepted: December 2020; Published: September 2021
Abstract: Without deliberate reflection on and implementation of values in the coaching
process, coaches are unlikely to emphasize moral values and may miss opportunities for
their instrumental use. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the values
which coaches desired to be guided by in their coaching practice, and the values which
they hoped to develop in the athletes entrusted to their care. Participants were 571
coaches from seven sports in the Czech Republic who were asked to complete a survey
containing open and closed responses concerning coaching values. Specifically, they were
asked to identify the values that guided their coaching and the values they sought to develop
on their teams. Results indicated that values of Hard Work and Respect for Others were
the most important, regardless of gender, age coached, experience, licensing, or level
coached. We suggest that Eastern coaches, who are largely still heavily influenced by the
coaching methodology of the former Soviet Bloc, would benefit from the intentional
implementation of instrumental development values that align with the developmental
needs of the athletes they coach.
Keywords: values; coaching; philosophy; moral; Czech Republic; Youth Sport Values
Values in sport has been studied from a variety of perspectives, including the value of
sport (Fraleigh, 1983; Kretchmar, 2005; Shields & Bredemeier, 1995), sport for moral
development (Lumpkin et al., 2002; Shields et al., 2018; Simon, 2003; Stoll & Beller, 2012),
the values of youth in sport (Danish et al., 2005; Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005; Hansen et al.,
2003; Koh et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2000, 2008), values of winning coaches (Gearity et al.,
2013; Gould et al., 2017; Jones et al., 2003; Schroeder, 2010; Wang & Straub, 2012), and
the absence of values in sport (Fraser-Thomas & Côté, 2009; Gearity & Murray, 2011;
Lumpkin et al., 2002; Stoll & Beller, 2012). According to Rokeach (1973), a value is “an
enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or
socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence”
(p. 5). For this study, values can be described as norms or principles that guide an individual’s
interactions and convictions. This study sought to examine the values that coaches desired
to be guided by in their coaching practice, and the values which they hoped to develop in
the athletes entrusted to their care.
A coach’s job is composed primarily of helping athletes reach their potential (Hansen
et al., 2003) and improving their performance (Jones et al., 2008). However, the success of
these goals is largely dependent on their knowledge and values, which ultimately determines
both their role in athletes’ lives and their own coaching philosophy (Nash et al., 2008). Thus,
knowledge and values acquired in life, through coaching experience and through formal and
informal education, are two of the most important tools of a coach. Most literature on
coaching philosophy posits that a coach’s philosophy is constructed over time as a result of
one’s values, personal and coaching sport experience, and coaching education (Cassidy et
al., 2008; Jenkins, 2017; Nash et al., 2008). Some have suggested a coaching philosophy is
singularly guided by a coach’s core values (Camiré et al., 2012; Collins et al., 2009). While
Rokeach’s (1973) research showed values and value priorities to be relatively static, other
researchers have found the intentional, instrumental use of values can be used to increase
teamwork, achieve team goals, and improve performance (Gould et al., 2017; Schroeder,
2010; Wang & Straub 2012). Unfortunately, as Cushion and Partington (2016) noted, most
coaches have not developed a coaching philosophy, choosing to coach based on their
common sense, without adjustment to the specific needs of the current athletes or team
they are coaching.
Sport values typically have a collective nature and develop within specific cultures slowly
over time (Girginov, 2004). Keshock (2009) suggested that the deeply held value of Hard
Work among Czech athletes and coaches is rooted in over 1,000 years of history. Among
coaches from Eastern Europe, an authoritarian coaching style is common, often lacking
ability to relate to and motivate athletes on a personal level (Girginov & Sandanski, 2004).
The sport system has a long history of being highly focused on early specialization, with an
emphasis on repetition of precise physical movement. Green and Oakley (2001) stated that
in the Eastern Bloc, “the scientization of sport training was taken to unprecedented lengths”
(p. 253). The emotional desires of athletes were overlooked as unnecessary, as athletes
were typified as workers or human machines. With the fall of the political system, the
choices of athletes have expanded, but many coaches are behind the curve in changing to
meet the demands of the athletes. Kavalir’s (2004) research shows values of Czech sport
and Czech youth are misaligned and create barriers to sport participation. Therefore, this
study investigated the values coaches use to guide their coaching process, and those values
that they believe will help their athletes achieve their maximum potential and improve
performance. In this sense, the instrumental use of values by Czech coaches is evaluated
and introduced to improve performance, while retaining and engaging athletes.
In sport, values have been delineated in various ways. To define a “good” sport contest,
Fraleigh (1983) classified sport values as inherent, instrumental values. Martinkova (2012)
posited for the inclusion of inherent values in sport, trying to broaden Fraleigh’s definition
by delineating between competitive and humanistic values. Kretchmar (1994, 2005), in trying
to bring clarity to the fair play movement, divided sport values into moral and non-moral.
Those evaluating sport for fair play have built on Kretchmar’s delineation and switched the
terms to moral and performance values (Lumpkin et al., 2002; Simon, 2003). More recent
definitions have included the terms of competence, moral, and status (Lee et al., 2013).
While recognizing the contributions of each of these categorizations, the instrumental use
of values for both moral and performance outcomes are of particular interest in the present
study. Fraleigh (1983) defined instrumental values as values which are not inherent to the
sport activity itself, but are used in a utilitarian manner to bring about a given end. Many of
the moral values emphasized by Kretchmar (1994, 2005) as essential for fair play, or by
Brand (2006) in defending sport as educational, are not values which occur automatically
when sport is played (inherent values), but values instrumentally adopted for the protection
of good sport.
Most research on the use of values in sport has focused on youth sports (Danish et al.,
2005; Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005; Hansen et al., 2003; Koh et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2008;
Shields & Bredemeier, 1995). Research on elite level sports has focused primarily on the
decline in moral values over time (Burton & Welty Peachey, 2014; May, 2001; Shields et al.,
2018; Stoll & Beller, 2012). However, few studies have considered the coach’s personal
Several authors attribute this lack of focus on values in the coaching literature to the
philosophical pragmatism common among coaches (Cushion & Partington, 2016; Jenkins,
2017; Nelson & Groom, 2012). Isidoria et al. (2015), found most coaches were unaware
and unreflective of their values paradigm, yet stated that self-awareness of one’s own
practice (critical reflection) and experience when engaged in sport is the fundamental
condition for the understanding of sport values. Therefore, there is a need for coaches to
exercise critical reflection on their own guiding values before they will be able to
instrumentally implement developmental values with the teams they coach.
Although a coach will have personal values, occasionally a sport organization will
establish a set of values from the top they expect coaches to adopt with their teams. For
set values to have significance, coaches must lead with the particular values espoused (Koh
et al., 2017; Simon, 2003). When coaches lead with values, there is an amplifying effect on
the athletes they coach, which significantly increases the instrumental benefit on
performance (Cameron et al., 2014). One such example examined by Pim (2016) is the
West Point Competitive model, a program focused on developing character through sports
by identifying core values, and tying these core values to observable behaviors. The
adaptation of this program led to significant performance success among elite university
athletes (i.e., 36 national championships were won during the 7-year period after the
implementation of their values program). The specific values emphasized developmentally in
this model included Trust, Respect, Loyalty, Responsibility, Courage, Commitment, and
Teamwork (Pim, 2016).
Coaches must also understand the ever-changing needs of their athletes based on
developmental and cultural changes. For example, Partington et al. (2014) collected data on
the coaching behaviors of 12 male professional youth football coaches in England. They
found that to understand performance demands, coaches must be aware of how the needs
of athletes change across the age and developmental spectrum. This is significant, as others
have reported that a mismatch between developmental needs and coaching behaviors led
to high dropout and injury rates (Fraser-Thomas & Côté, 2009) as well as shorter careers
(Gearity & Murray, 2011) than when athletes were trained by a competent age- and skill-
appropriate coach (Côté & Gilbert, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of
delineating between a coach’s guiding (i.e., core or permanent values) and developmental
values (i.e., personal philosophy which changes based on who is being coached).
Coaches have an enormous role in athletes’ lives, and athletes may acquire their values
of integrity, respect, commitment, and resilience most often from their coaches (Koh et al.,
2016). Furthermore, athletes reported being able to transfer these values beyond sport. “It
is not sport per se that teaches life skills; it is a sport experience that is designed in such a
fashion that its participants can transfer what is learned to other domains” (Danish et al.,
1997, p. 103). For a coach to achieve this, they must critically reflect on their own guiding
values as well as create a culture in which the values they aspire to develop in their athletes
are both relevant to their athletic needs and transferable to life.
The Youth Sport Values Questionnaire (YSVQ), an instrument developed by Lee et al.
(2000), has been used in multiple contexts to assess the values of youth in sport (Lee et al.,
2013; Lee et al., 2008; MacLean & Hamm, 2008; Whitehead & Gonçalves, 2013). Lee and
colleagues (2013), surveying youth aged 12-15, found that competence and moral values led
to prosocial attitudes, while a lack of moral values coupled with status values led to antisocial
attitudes. Values most important to youth were: Enjoyment, Achievement, Sportsmanship,
Contract Maintenance, Fairness, Compassion, Tolerance, Skills, Obedience and Team
Cohesion. This is important, for while the demands of youth ought not be the driving force
in a coach’s choice of values, to ignore these demands in a crowded marketplace of youth
activities is to increasingly drive them away. Furthermore, the more aligned the coaching
behavior and athlete’s perception of desired values are, the more maximized are skill
acquisition and training (Weaver & Chelladurai, 1999).
Much of the research on the implementation of values focuses on youth sport. Elite
athletes are typically older, and have established their own values systems that may or may
not coalesce or conflict with their coach. Value research at the elite level tends to focus on
the decline of moral values among those who stay in sport for extended periods of time.
Therefore, understanding and supporting the development of values systems in youth sports
can be beneficial. We believe it is necessary to set a starting point with the coach’s own
personal value system. It is unlikely coaches will act deliberately in instrumentally
emphasizing particular values to those entrusted to them unless they are aware of their own
guiding values (Jenkins, 2010). Thus, we have examined the literature for values which
coaches themselves have expressed, which are presented in Table 1. It should be noted that
most coaches did not delineate between guiding and developmental values. Rather, they
tended to relate how they arrived at these values for themselves, and then how they
implemented them developmentally with their teams. Researchers chose to study these
coaches based on their performance success. While each study places emphasis on the
moral development of the athletes in their charge, they were studied because of their
multiple years of historical success in the sport and level coached. Thus, while we believe
these coaches are authentic in their belief in the moral value of the values by which they are
guided, most other coaches who follow them as models are adopting their values paradigms
Table 1. Representative Values of Elite Winning Coaches.
(2Gearity et al., 2013; 5Gould et al., 2017; 6Jones et al., 2003; 7Schroeder, 2010; 4Summitt & Jenkins, 2013; 1Voight
& Carroll, 2006; 3Wang & Straub, 2012)
Literature indicates that if a coach’s values (e.g., winning, personal achievement) do not
complement those they seek to impart to athletes (e.g., teamwork, effort), a dichotomy
exists, and conflict is likely (Koh et al., 2017; Simon, 2003). However, little is known about
what coaches value personally and what they want their athletes to value. Therefore, the
purposes of this study were to ascertain (a) the guiding values of coaches, and (b) the values
they sought to instill within their athletes. Because no study has been conducted within this
topic in the Czech Republic, or on Eastern European coaches, this study was considered
exploratory in nature.
Participants were 571 coaches from the Czech Republic who completed an in-person
survey (88.3% response rate) about their coaching values (Table 2). The vast majority (92%)
were male and represented seven sports (Floorball, 122; Ice Hockey, 106; Football, 88;
Basketball, 85; Handball, 69; Hockeyball, 53; and Baseball, 48). Included within the
convenience sample were professional and amateur teams across three divisions of
competition that included both youth and adult athletes. Czech sport leagues, like many
other European leagues, are composed of teams within clubs, often with a professional team
at the top. Each age group team competes in a relegation system with two to five levels of
competition. The average age of coaches was 34.7 (SD = 9.6) years of age, and coaching
experience ranged from 1-40 years, with a mean of 7.1 years (SD = 6.7).
Table 2. Demographic Percentages of Coaches Sampled.
Participants were asked to complete demographic information in addition to questions
pertaining to values. Demographic variables collected included coach’s gender (M/F), gender
coached (M/F), age coached (up to 8, 8-14, 15-19, 20+), level coached (1st league, 2nd
league, 3rd league or lower), coaching experience (1-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-15 years, 16+
years), license level (A – highest, B, C or unlicensed), and whether they were a head or
The survey was written in the Czech language and used previously in research (Crossan
& Bednář, 2018). It included two parallel open and closed questions that evaluated coaching
values. These two non-demographic questions were the same in both open-ended and
closed form: “What 3-5 values guide you as a coach?” and “What 3-5 values do you as a
coach hope to develop in the team/players you are currently coaching?” With respect to
closed questions, participants were asked to choose 5 values from a randomly ordered list
of 37 generated from those identified by Coubertin (Müller, 2000), Tyrš (1926), the fair play
movement (Lumpkin et al., 2002; Simon, 2003), the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(Brand, 2006), and Kretchmar (1994, 2005). Items were randomly ordered to help address
the possibility that participants would simply choose items near the top or early in the list.
Surveys were conducted by the primary researcher at coaching education seminars
hosted by sport federations in the Czech Republic between March and May of 2018. Prior
to data collection, permissions and approval were acquired from all relevant individuals and
organizations. The paper surveys were introduced by a sport federation official to help
improve coaching education in the sport’s federation. Surveys were anonymous and
completion was voluntary.
Demographic and open-ended questions were distributed first. Coaches were orally
given the simple definition of values as, “Values are norms or principles which guide your
interactions and convictions.” After approximately six minutes, coaches were given the
second section of the survey containing the closed questions. Surveys were distributed in
two stages to encourage respondents to record their guiding and developmental values in
the open-ended questions before potentially being biased by the list of values presented in
the closed questions. Surveys were collected after approximately 15 minutes had elapsed.
Basic descriptive statistics (mean, variability, counts, proportions) for all variables of
interest (demographics, guiding and developmental values preference) were calculated.
Group differences in values preference based on gender coached, age coached, level
coached, coaching license level, and coaching experience were assessed using Pearson’s Chi-
square test (or Fisher exact test, where appropriate). Pearson and Spearman correlation
coefficients were used to express the strength of association between continuous and
ordered categorical variables, respectively. Significance was set at p < .05. P values were
based on omnibus chi squared tests comparing all levels of grouping variables. Results which
had group differences in values endorsement greater than 5%, which we considered
practically significant, even while p > .05, are also presented. Statistical analyses were
performed using SPSS version 25 (SPSS Statistics for Windows, 2017).
Correlations are presented in Table 3. The strongest association was observed between
years coached and license level (r = -.525, p < .001), where a longer coaching history was
related with a higher license level. Strong correlations were also found between years
coached and age (r = .39, p < .001), sex of the coach and sex of the athletes (r = .51, p <
.001), and years coached to being a head or assistant coach (r = .35, p < .001).
Table 3. Correlations Between Demographic Variables and Variables of Interest.
Note. * p < 0.05; Level coached was coded as follows: 1st League (1), 2nd League (2), 3rd league or lower (3); License
level was coded highest (1) to lowest (3) as the actual certification levels varied by sport.
Coaches were asked to list the top three to five values which guide them as coaches,
followed by three to five values that they would like to develop in their team (Table 4). On
average, there were slightly more values (M = 3.73; SD = .93) given for themselves than
their team (M = 3.38; SD = 1.0). There was a 28% overlap between the values listed as their
guiding values and values they would like to develop on their current teams, but 235 coaches
(43.8%) presented a completely different set of values for those which guided them and
what they desired to develop in their athletes.
Common values reported by coaches for themselves included Fairness (24.1%), Fair
Play (23.1%), and Hard Work (20.7%). Consistent with Kretchmar (1994, 2005) and Simon
(2003), in this study we equated Fair Play to Sportsmanship, and defined Fairness in Kantian
terms as “equality of opportunity to perform.” Other values are presented in Table 4.
Common values desired by the coaches in their athletes included Team Spirit (26.4%) and
Hard Work (25.1%).
Table 4. Guiding (A) and Developing (B) Values from Open-ended Questions.
Participants were asked to choose values that guided them from a list of 37 values
(Table 5). Tables 5 and 6 list only the top 10 values identified by coaches; when values below
the top 10 are discussed, we have provided their relative position for reference (i.e., noted
as a # to indicate ranking). The top guiding values were Fun (38.5%), followed closely by
Respect for Others (36.1%), Patience (34.3%), and Hard Work (32.4%). The congruence
between coaches guiding and developmental values was evident, as Respect for Others
(35%) and Hard Work (34.6%) occupied the top two developmental value positions. Among
the top 10 guiding and developmental values, 7 overlapped, with a remarkable number of
coaches expressing them as desired. Differences in endorsement of developmental versus
guiding values larger than 10% were observed in the values of Fun (38.5% to 21.9%), Health
(23.5% to 14.8%); Fairness (21.9% to 8.3%), and Courage (9.8% to 19.3%), which were all
significant at p < .001.
Guiding and Developmental Values Based on Level Coached and Experience
As guiding values, the values of Fun (45.5% to 28.5%, p < .01) and Fairness (24.1% to
19.0%, p = .44) both decreased as coaches move up in level coached (Table 5), while Patience
(32.5% to 38.0%, p = .46) and Hard Work (26.7% to 39.7%, p = .03) increased with level
coached. As developmental values, Hard Work (30.4% to 42.5%, p = .02) again increased
with level coached, along with an increased emphasis on Humility (21.5% to 26.8%, p = .48)
and Courage (16.2% to 24.0%, p = .15); while Winning and Losing with Grace (39.3% to
27.4%, p = .05) and Sportsmanship (25.1% to 14.5%, p = .04) both decreased when coaches
coached higher level teams.
Table 5. Prevalence of Guiding (A) and Developmental (B) Values by Level
Coached and Experience (top 10 preferences).
Note: bold p values are significant
These patterns in value importance were reflected in coaches’ experience. Specifically,
Fun (47.1% to 28.1%, p < .01) and Patience (40.2% to 24.6%, p = .03) as guiding values, and
Humility (27.0% to 15.8%, p = .30) and Sportsmanship (23.2% to 14.0%, p = .23) as
developmental values, all decreased as coaches gained experience. Interestingly, there were
no clear guiding values which coaches who had more experience were likely to hold. Similar
findings existed with coaching license level, where those with more licensing education were
less likely to value Fun (A 29.7%, B 34.6%, C 43.2%, p = .03), Patience (A 29.7%, B 26.4%, C
39.1%, p = .01), Friendship (A 23.1%, B 30.8%, C 31.2%, p = .31), Health (A 16.5%, B 18.9%,
C 26.2%, p = .06), and Respect for the Rules (A 14.3%, B 17.0%, C 24.9%, p = .03).
Guiding and Developmental Values Based on Gender and Age Coached
When coaching females verses males, coaches placed more emphasis on the guiding
values of Patience (46.9% to 32.4%, p =.02), Responsibility (35.9% to 28.0%, p =.19), Fairness
(29.7% to 19.9%, p =.07), and Respect for the Rules (#12, 29.7% to 19.9%, p =.07). In
addition, those coaching females reported Sportsmanship as a more important
developmental value when coaching females than males (37.5% to 17.7%, p < .01). Other
developmental values those coaching females placed considerably more emphasis on were
Respect for Others (42.2% to 33.4%, p = .16), Winning and Losing with Grace (43.8% to
30.4%, p = .03), and Friendship (32.8% to 21.7%, p = .05). The only value emphasized more
by those coaching males than females was Humility (24.9% to 9.4%, p = .01).
Values that guide coaches appear to change by what age groups are being coached
(Table 6). Specifically, values of Fun (46.7% to 23.9%, p < .01), Patience (51.1% to 31.9%, p
= .09), Friendship (37.8% to 29.2%, p =.55), Fairness (28.9% to 11.5%, p < .01),
Sportsmanship (#11, 28.9% to 11.5%, p < .01), and Respect for the Rules (#12, 33.3% to
18.6%, p = .17), all decrease as the age group coached goes up. Conversely, Respect for
others (26.7% to 36.3%, p = .58), and Hard Work (20.0% to 35.4%, p < .01), increased with
age group coached.
Table 6. Prevalence of Guiding (A) and Developmental (B) Values by Gender and
Age of Athletes (top 10 preferences).
Note: bold p values are significant
Developmentally, Respect for others (46.7% to 35.4%, p = .34), Friendship (26.7% to
12.4%, p < .01) and Sportsmanship (33.3% to 17.7%, p = .08) each decreased in emphasis as
age coached increased. In contrast, coaches placed more emphasis on the developmental
values of Hard Work (26.7% to 41.6%, p = .14) and Responsibility (24.4% to 37.2%, p = .07),
when coaching older athletes. We observed several values which appeared to be particularly
emphasized within specific age groups, presumably corresponding with aged developmental
needs. The ability to Win and Lose with Grace appeared to be most important among those
coaching 8-14-year-old athletes (38.1%), Humility with those ages 15-19 (31.4%), and
Resilience (#13, 24.8%) among those over 20.
It is necessary to remember that the correlations between level coached, experience,
and age coached were all high (Table 3). Thus, the findings in Tables 5 and 6 have some
similarities. Developmentally, Fun is replaced with Hard Work as the level goes up. Also,
the leagues are divided into levels within all age groups. Similar to guiding values,
developmentally, Family Friendly Relationships decreased (#18, 15.2% to 8.4%, p = .06)
inversely to level of competition, and Winning and Losing with Grace (39.3% to 27.4%, p =
.05), and Sportsmanship (25.1% to 14.5%, p = .04) also appear less important to coaches
coaching higher level teams. These values appear to be replaced by Hard Work (30.4% to
42.5%, p = .02) and Courage (16.2% to 24.0%, p = .15) developmentally.
Values Not Valued by Czech Coaches
Values reported were those stated by at least 10% of the coaches within the sample.
However, some values were less considered by coaches. These were evenly represented
by inherent, instrumental, and added values. Values chosen by 5-9% of coaches (27-56
coaches) were composed primarily of instrumental and added values (Faith, Bravery, Civility,
Striving for Excellence, Truthfulness). Several added and inherent values were selected by
only a few coaches (0-5%; Hope, Balanced Life, Love, Wisdom, Strength, Morality,
Unselfishness, Relevant Skills, Relevant Knowledge, Integrity, Reputation and Welfare).
Combining Open and Closed Responses
When results from both open and closed responses were combined, the value of Hard
Work was represented most often (Tables 4 - 6). As a developing value, it was the second
most listed on both the open and closed questions with the least discrepancy between
percentages (Table 4, Type B: 25.1% and Table 5, Type B: 34.6%). Hard Work was
significantly influenced as both a guiding and developmental value by age and level coached,
and by the coach’s experience, which was highly correlated with these two variables.
In the open values, the general value of Respect was listed as a developmental value by
14.2% (Table 4, Type B); coaches most likely meant respect for others, which was the top
closed developmental value by 35% (Table 5, Type B) of coaches. However, Respect for the
Rules was also ranked 16th in the closed question and chosen again by 14.1% of coaches.
As a guiding value, while coaches were general in the open responses in terms of respect
(Table 4, Type A, 17.7%), in the closed responses, Respect for Others ranked 2nd (Table 5,
Type A, 36.1%) and Respect for the Rules was 12th (20.9%), both higher than the general
respect expressed previously. As guiding values, Respect for Others increased with age
coached, while Respect for the Rules decreased with age coached.
Only 12.7% of coaches listed Fun, or some form of the joy/entertainment component
as a guiding value in the open questions (Table 4, Type A), yet when choosing among a “bag
of virtues” (represented by Table 5, Type A), a full 38.5% of coaches said they are guided
by the value of Fun. Coaches felt little need to develop the value of Fun in open questions,
only being chosen by 6.8% (Table 4, Type B) and 21.9% (Table 5, Type B) of coaches in the
closed question. Perhaps one of the more interesting findings is the value of Fun, which
while decreasing in guiding influence of coaches (Table 6, Type A), is a consistent
developmental value across ages (19.5%-23.8%) (Table 6, Type B). The value of Fun was
significantly influenced only as a guiding value, by age and level coached, and by the coach’s
experience, all at p < .01.
The percent of coaches who stated they are guided by the value of Fairness remained
consistent between the open (Table 4, Type A, #1, 24.1%) and closed (Table 5, Type A,
#10, 21.9%) questions, even though its ranking dropped considerably. This was similar to
the open value of Fair Play (Table 4, Type A, #2, 23.1%), which is similar to Sportsmanship
in the closed question (#11, 21.5%).
As guiding values, Patience, Hard Work and Friendship (Table 4, Type A, values 8, 3,
and 6) all remained in similar priority positions among coaches even though the percentages
are 12-22% higher on the closed questions (Table 5, Type A, values 3, 4, 5). Similarly, the
values of Responsibility, Humility, Friendship, Sportsmanship, and Patience all held very
similar positions both times asked as developmental values, and thus probably accurately
represent the values coaches truly desired to develop in their athletes.
The study and use of values in coaching is important, as a mismatch of coaching
behaviors to developmental needs has a negative impact on continuation in sport (Partington
et al., 2014). Other studies illustrate that involvement in sport does not automatically lead
to the development of positive moral values (Fraser-Thomas & Côté, 2009; Priest et al.,
1999), and the choice and implementation of values needs to be based on the developmental
needs of the athletes (Danish et al., 2005; Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005; Koh et al., 2017). For
a coach to move away from just a pragmatic coaching philosophy, they need to critically
reflect on their own guiding values, then assess the current team they are coaching per
player needs before instrumentally implementing appropriate developmental values. Thus,
the present study’s finding that there are few instrumental moral values evident among the
developing values of those coaching preadolescent and youth under 15 years old is
concerning. Also alarming was the decreasing support of moral values that was replaced by
hard work and responsibility; this correlated significantly with increased coaching
experience and education. A coach’s philosophy should be more influenced by the needs of
the athletes than the coach’s experience and level of education or licensing (Côté & Gilbert,
2009; Jones et al., 2003; 2008).
As Girginov and Sandanski (2004) illustrated in discussing Eastern Bloc coaches, “the
message brought by the East was unequivocal – elite gymnastics is not fun but hard work,”
(p.825). Girginov and Sandanski (2004) discussed how Eastern coaches who come to the
West have to learn to be “motivators and managers, not just coaches” (p.827). The
instrumental use of developmental values can serve to meet this need, while still producing
winning teams, as illustrated with the West Point Model (Pim, 2016) as well as others (Gould
et al., 2017; Schroeder, 2010). However, chosen developmental values must be both
authentically held by the coach (Cameron et al., 2014; Camiré et al., 2012) and in some
degree of alignment with the desired values of the athletes being coached.
In comparison to the results from Lee et al. (2000, p. 320-321) on their widely used
and adapted YSVQ survey, there is an overlap of five values, which can be termed demand
overlap. The values of Enjoyment/Fun (YSVQ #1, Guiding #1, Developmental #7),
Sportsmanship (YSVQ #3, Guiding #11, Developmental #8), Contract
Maintenance/Responsibility (YSVQ #4, Guiding #6, Developmental #4), Fairness (YSVQ #5,
Guiding #10, Developmental #21), and Team cohesion/Friendship (YSVQ #10, Guiding #5,
Developmental #6) are each similarly valued between athletes and coaches (Lee et al., 2000).
In contrast to the present findings, the YSVQ survey (Lee et al., 2000) does not display the
decreases in the values of enjoyment, fairness, or sportsmanship, which we observed among
coaches either between age groups or level played. This is a significant point in need of
reflection for Czech coaches given the decreasing trends in sport participation (Novotny,
With respect to coaches who are coaching older teams or teams at the highest level, it
is helpful to compare their stated values to those of the elite coaches (Gearity et al., 2013;
Jones et al., 2003; Schroeder, 2010; Summitt & Jenkins, 2013; Voight & Carroll, 2006; Wang
& Straub, 2012) and the West Point Competitive model (Pim, 2016). These coaches and
their programs were researched due to their performance success, which is what coaches
strive and are often paid for. Thus, their use of values frequently has instrumental value. The
most common values of the elite coaches researched correspond to those coaching at the
highest level in the present study with respect to Responsibility, Trust, Hard Work, and
Respect for Others. Of the other values which the elite coaches researched had in common
with each other: Courage, Balanced Life, Positivity, and Unselfishness, each moral or
instrumental values, only Courage was held by a significant number of Czech coaches. This
could represent a growth area for elite Czech coaches.
The analysis of values of elite coaches also emphasized the amplifying effect of a coach
who develops the values which guide them personally (Jones et al., 2003; Voight & Carroll,
2006; Wang & Straub, 2012; Wooden & Jamison, 2005). This amplifying effect is emphasized
in the values-based leadership business literature as essential to the implementation of
effective values programs for achieving success (Cameron et al., 2014). An evaluation
instrument comparing coaches desired guiding and developmental values with those of the
perceived values of the athletes they coach would be a useful tool in researching this
The surveys conducted in this study asked the coaches to self-report their guiding
values. Self-reporting often leads one to report their idealized self. Future studies could
include third party identification of values to eliminate this bias. Due to the nature of
conducting a paper survey, the closed list of values from which participants chose was
ordered the same for all respondents. This did not appear to have a significant effect on the
results, which is evidenced by the number of values placed near the bottom of the list, as
well as the correspondence between open response values listed and closed response
values. However, this limitation could be eliminated with the use of digital surveys.
Additionally, as most coaches in the Czech Republic are male, not enough female coach
responses were received to make generalizations between value differences of male and
female coaches. The results of this study only reflect the expressed values of coaches; they
do not measure either the experienced values or the desired values of the athletes coached.
These comparisons are recommended for further research. Further, a qualitative study
examining how and why these coaches choose their values, in addition to how they
implement them, would bolster this research area.
The present study of Czech coaches highlights the value they place on Hard Work and
Respect for Others, regardless of coach gender, age, experience, licensing, or level coached.
There is an alarming trend of decreasing moral values as the coach ages and acquires
licensing. While self-reporting is limited in presenting coaches’ idealized self, we strove to
decrease this by asking the same questions in both an open and closed manner. Coaches
did not vary significantly in their answers to the two sets of questions except for the value
of Fun, which was much more highly valued both as a guiding and developmental value in
the closed responses. This would indicate that coaches know Fun should be valued, which
is consistent with the results of others who evaluated youth values using the YSVQ
instrument (MacLean & Hamm, 2008; Whitehead & Gonçalves, 2013). There was also
significant incongruence between Czech coaches and the elite coaches studied by others in
the use of moral and instrumental values. Despite higher than expected differences between
choice of guiding and developmental values, Czech coaches appeared to be more influenced
in their choice of developmental values by experience and licensing level than the
developmental needs of the athletes they coach.
These findings are significant in their evaluation of coaches’ values regardless of
performance, which stands in contrast to the many studies of the values of successful elite
coaches. Additionally, comparison of coaches’ values over and against youth values from the
widely used YSVQ instrument provides a first step in uncovering the value-percept disparity.
Based on the findings of this study, there appears to be a lack of understanding by Eastern
European coaches of the potential developmental use of instrumental values to aid athletes
in maximization of skill acquisition and training.
Author Contributions: Conceptualization, W.C. and M.B.; methodology, W.C., M.B., and
M.K.; software, M.K.; validation, W.C., M.B., and M.K.; formal analysis, M.K. and W.C.;
investigation, W.C. and M.B.; resources, W.C.; data curation, W.C.; writing – original draft
preparation, W.C. and T.B.; writing – review and editing, W.C. and T.B.; visualization, M.K.
and W.C.; supervision, W.C.; project administration, W.C.; funding and acquisition, W.C.
Funding: This research was partially funded by the Charles University Grant Agency,
Progres Q19 grant.
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