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Gender Differences in Preference and Perception of Coaching Behaviors

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Gender Differences in Preference and Perception of Coaching Behaviors
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  Introduction Sport leadership is considered as the behavioral process thatcan influence the performance and psychological well-beingof athletes (e.g., Barrow, 1977; Horn, 1992). For this reason,coaching leadership behaviors has been the major theme for coach-athlete relationship studies. Most previous studies ongender issues have concentrated on comparing the gender of coaches (e.g., Frankl & Babbitt, 1998; Simmons, 1997), fewstudies have focused on comparing male and female athletes. Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the preferred andperceived coaching behaviors between male and femaleathletes. The 60-item Revised Leadership Scale for Sports(RLSS; Zhang, Jenson, & Mann, 1997) was used for thisstudy. The RLSS had six dimensions: Autocratic Behavior,Positive Feedback, Training and Instruction, SituationalConsideration, Social Support, and Autocratic Behavior. Itemresponses were based on a 5-point Likert scale: Always (5points), Often (4 points), Occasionally (3 points), Seldom (2points), and Never (1 point).   The total scores for eachcategory were obtained by adding the scores of all the itemsand then dividing by the number of items in that category.The higher the scores in that category, the more obvious thebehavior the participant was in that dimension. Method Invitation letters were sent out to athletic directors (N=~100)of NCAA institutions in 2005 to invite them to participate inthe study. A total of 15 athletic directors responded andindicated they were willing to participate. Survey packages(cover letter which explained the purpose of the study,consent forms for the participants, and demographic sheets)were sent to the athletic directors together with the RLSS.The study was conducted with the help of head coaches, whodistributed the questionnaires to the athletes of their respective sport. The RLSS included two versions: (a) Athlete’s Preference of Coaching Behavior and (b) Athlete’s  Perception of Coaching Behavior. It took approximately 20minutes to complete both questionnaires and thedemographic sheet. Once completed, athletes placed thequestionnaires in the provided envelop, and the coachesreturned them to the athletic directors. After collecting all theenvelops, the athletic director mailed them back to theresearcher with the postage pre-paid priority mail envelop.Participants were male athletes (N = 585) from the followingsports: baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and track andfield; and female athletes (N = 472) from softball, basketball,soccer, tennis, and track and field.SPSS 11.5 for Windows (SPSS, 2004) was used for dataanalysis. Box’s M test was used to assess the covariancematrices for the dependent variables and Levine’s Test wasutilized to examine the homogeneity of error variancesamong the dependent variables. One-way MANOVA was usedto test the differences in the perception and preference meanvector scores between male and female athletes. Conclusion When compared to male athletes, female athletes preferred ahigher degree of Situation Consideration but a lower degree of Autocratic Behaviors. This suggests that coaches should usedifferent coaching styles for male and female athletes. In termsof Situation Consideration, the coaches should consider factors such as time, environment, skill level, and physicalcondition of the athletes before selecting athletes for theappropriate game position. The coaches should also knowhow to differentiate between coaching methods at variousmaturity stages and skill levels.On the other hand, coaches should avoid autocratic behaviorssuch as over-emphasis his/her power or authority which can becounter productive when dealing with female athletes(Sherman & Fuller, 2001). In contrast to their femalecounterparts, the prominence of  coaches’ personal influence isnot viewed as negatively by male athletes (Chelladurai, 1989).In addition, autocratic leadership behavior would not facilitateeffective communication, which was reported as extremelyvaluable by female athletes (Fasting & Pfister, 2000). Gender Differences in Preference andPerception of Coaching Behaviors ATHLETES' PREFERENCE OFLEADERSHIP STYLES 12345 DemocraticBehavior PositiveFeedbackTraining andInstructionSituationalConsiderationSocial Support AutocraticBehavior        S      C      O      R      E      S Male AthletesFemale Athletes ATHLETES' PERCEPTION OFLEADERSHIP STYLES 12345 DemocraticBehavior PositiveFeedbackTraining andInstructionSituationalConsiderationSocial Support AutocraticBehavior        S      C      O      R      E      S Male AthletesFemale Athletes   Leadership Style F pDemocratic Behavior 28.340 .000**Positive Feedback .043 .836Training and Instruction 2.422 .120Situational Consideration 2.133 .145Social Support 1.290 .256Autocratic Behavior 64.049 .000****p < .001 Leadership Style F p Democratic Behavior 1.128 .289Positive Feedback 3.243 .072Training and Instruction 1.504 .220Situational Consideration 6.208 .013*Social Support 0.947 .331Autocratic Behavior 63.634 .000***p < .05 **p < .001 Results Results of the one-way MANOVA analysis indicated that therewere significant (p < .001) differences in the preference (Wilk’s  Lambda = 13.675, p < .001) and perception (Wilk’s Lambda =16.348, p < .001) mean vector scores between male and femaleathletes.Univariate analyses indicated that only the SituationConsideration and Autocratic Behavior dimensions of thepreference version were significant (see Table 1). Femaleathletes (the red line in Figure 1) had significant (p < .05)higher preference scores in Situational Consideration butlower scores in Autocratic Behavior than male athletes.The perception version were significant for both theDemocratic and Autocratic Behaviors (see Table 2). Femaleathletes had significantly (p < .05) lower scores in bothdimensions than their male counterparts (Figure 2).Paired-sample t-tests analyses revealed that preferencescores of all dimensions of the RLSS were significant (p <.05). All preference scores were higher than the perceptionscores except Autocratic Behavior, which had lower scores. Figure 1: Mean Preference of Leadership Style Scores BetweenMale and Female Athletes   Table 1: Univariate Analyses for the Preference of Leadership Styles   Between Male and Female Athletes   Table 2: Univariate Analyses for the Perception of Leadership StylesBetween Male and Female Athletes   Figure 2: Mean Perception of Leadership Style Scores BetweenMale and Female Athletes   Eddie T.C. Lam 1 , Angela Cunningham 1 , Siu-Yin Cheung 2 , Demetrius Pearson 3 , & Sungwon Bae 4 1 Cleveland State University, 2 Hong Kong Baptist University, 3 University of Houston, 4 Texas Tech University  
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