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Female Athletes’ Rankings of Coaching Behavior: A Longitudinal Report

Craig Stewart


Coaching female athletes is as rewarding as it is challenging. These athletes are usually more coachable, intelligent, and mature than males at similar ages. However, they are different in many ways from their male counterparts. For example, Drobnick (2012) and Merchant (2012) have emphasized women’s communication styles as seeking feelings more than solutions; conversations are often an end in themselves where expressing emotions is more important than seeking solutions. Conversely, most males, having thought out issues in advance, communicate with a purpose. When males do listen, they do so actively assuming there is a problem to be solved and they are being asked to resolve it quickly. Generally, females communicate to share and create a sense of community or relationship with someone who understands her issues. That relationship reduces anxiety and prepares her to handle the stress of her environment. The data in this report was collected over a period of 12 years on convenience samples of undergraduate female students enrolled in an introduction to coaching class at a university in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Every semester, as part of in-class assignments, students were asked to prioritize 10 characteristics of coaches in a forced ranking process. Their results were later combined with their demographic data (years of competition, the sports they played and the highest level) to stimulate in-class discussions concerning the group’s competitive nature and their rankings of coaching behavior. This is a presentation of information specifically related to the female student-athletes’ rankings of coaching behavior over a period of years with practical implications for coaches to develop positive coach/player relationships, improve player motivation, satisfaction, and performance. 


female athletes; coach/player relationship; longitudinal report

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