Coaching Communication: Effects of Different Coaching Styles on Athletes

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Teresa Housel, Hope College

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Because every person communicates differently, no one person responds to messages the same exact way as someone else. Communication is especially important in the world of sports. Athletes need to talk and relate to their teammates both on and off the court. It is also very important for athletes to respect and connect to their coach. However, establishing a productive athlete-coach relationship is not always easy because there are many different coaching styles across sports. Many times, coaching techniques can strongly impact the team’s chemistry. Some coaches shout at their team using a command speaking style, while other coaches have a cooperative communication style. With this background in mind, this project examined what Hope College student athletes believe is the best coaching communication style. The research group interviewed athletes from almost every Hope male and female team, asking their opinions about coaching styles and the styles’ impact on team chemistry, cohesion, and performance. The qualitative interview analysis revealed two findings: Cooperative coaching is the most common coaching style at Hope, and that student athletes had very different responses to coaching styles. Finally, the study found that it is difficult to predict which coaching style will be more productive because it depends on the athletes and how they respond to their leader.

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