© 2013 Human Kinetics, Inc.
The Efforts of Sport Psychology Professionals to Assist
Sport Administrators in Evaluating Youth Sport Programs
Susumu Iwasaki and Mary D. Fry
University of Kansas
This study highlights how sport psychology professionals can assist sport administrators in evaluating and strengthening youth sport programs. A sport psychology research team provided expertise to two sport administrators to develop a survey to examine their athletes’ experiences participating in the programs. The study examines the relationship between athletes’ perceptions of the climate (caring, task, and ego involving) to their intrinsic motivation, caring behaviors, and future intention to participate in the sport. Volleyball clinic
(Sample 1: N = 71) and basketball summer camp (Sample 2: N = 138) participants completed the survey.
Canonical correlation analyses for each sample revealed one significant function indicating that the athletes’ perceptions of a caring/task-involving climate, along with low perceptions of an ego-involving climate, were associated with higher levels of intrinsic motivation, caring behaviors, and future desire to participate. Sport administrators can use this information for coach training, parent education and overall program evaluation.
Keywords: coaching feedback, caring climate, perceived motivational climate
Approximately 35 million young people participate in sport in the U.S. annually, and 35% of them, unfortunately, choose to discontinue their participation each year.
Many of these young athletes drop out of sport because they have not had a positive experience (Youth Sports
Statistics, 2012; Petlichkoff, 1996). This should be of major concern for youth sport administrators who want to maximize young athletes’ experiences; they should be interested in tracking which athletes choose to continue their participation in their programs, and getting feedback from athletes to discern their experiences. Research in sport psychology has revealed abundant information that can be beneficial to sport administrators who oversee programming for youth. For example, research has identified that athletes’ perceptions of the climate on their sport teams predicts important motivational responses such as their effort and enjoyment (Ntoumanis & Biddle, 1999). It would be advantageous if sport administrators used such research findings, and surveyed athletes in their programs to assess their overall sport experience. This information could be used to improve the quality of coaching and ultimately young athletes’ sport experiences.
Many sport administrators may not have the background or training in sport psychology to assess their program’s effectiveness. As a result, sport psychology professionals can play an important role in providing expertise to sport administrators with regard to developing and identifying assessment tools; surveying athletes, parents, and coaches; and helping prepare final reports for
Iwasaki and Fry are with the Dept. of Health, Sport & Exercise
Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
an organization. The purpose of this paper was to present the results of a study conducted at the request of two sport administrators, to obtain assistance from sport psychology professionals to examine athletes’ experiences in a sport program. Specifically, this study investigated the relationship between athletes’ perceptions of the climate (caring, task, ego involving) to their intrinsic motivation, desire to continue participating in the future, and their caring behaviors toward their peers/coaches. A second purpose of this paper was to describe how sport psychology professionals assisted sport administrators in gathering important information from athletes assessing their experiences in sport, and how this information can be used to enhance the overall quality of youth sport programs.
One useful theory to employ to