Examining the role of coaches' emotions in the adolescent team sport environment
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According to a 2008 Statistics Canada report, 76% of children under the age of 17 participate in organized sports. Considering this fact, sport is increasingly recognized as a context in which to study Positive Youth Development. Notably, coaches play an extremely influential role in shaping athletes’ experiences and development through sport. However, behavioural research in coaching has focused heavily on the content or instructional nature of coach behaviours – neglecting the contextual qualities that may contribute to effective coaching practices. Despite an extensive focus on the emotional experiences of athletes, the role of emotions in coaching has yet to be examined. Thus, this program of research sought to explore the emotions associated with coach behaviours, particularly concerning the developmental experiences of young athletes. To achieve this objective, two studies were conducted. The first study served to develop a valid and reliable systematic observation instrument specifically designed to assess the emotions of coaches in the team sport environment. This instrument represents a unique and novel approach to the study of emotions in the sport context, and the first of its kind to focus exclusively on coaches. The second study applied this instrument to examine the relationship between coaches’ emotional profiles and athletes’ developmental outcomes in the adolescent female competitive soccer context. Results revealed that emotional qualities associated with coach behaviours have a significant influence on the Character development of young soccer players. Together, these studies offer new and valuable insight into the emotional context of coach behaviours, informing effective coaching practices with practical implications for positive athlete development.