An analysis of volunteer coaching in youth sports
Cakebread, Christopher C.
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It has been estimated that 37 million children play nonschool youth sports in the United States. Each child likely will have some contact with a volunteer nonschool youth sport coach during their sports experience. This study was developed as a means of determining the nature of volunteerism as it applies to volunteer coaches. As well the study examines the traits and skills that volunteer coaches believe to be appropriate for this coaching activity. Preliminary research was conducted to identify the most significant beliefs that influenced adults to volunteer as coaches. Based upon the findings of the preliminary research, further systematic research was needed in order to construct and administer a questionnaire instrument to volunteer coaches. In order to assess the reliability of the questionnaire, a principal axis factor analysis with varimax rotation was performed. The analysis resulted in a six-factor solution for eighteen items. An examination of the clustered items revealed a shared theme within each cluster. An independent samples t-test and zero order correlation coefficient analysis were performed for three dependent variables. Research was conducted with the cooperation of USA Hockey at a number of Intermediate-level coaching clinics held in the state of Massachusetts. Results indicate that volunteers are influenced by altruism, a love of the sport of ice hockey, and self-interest -- as many volunteer coaches have children on the teams they coached. Volunteer coaches appear to follow the positive coaching mandates of USA Hockey with a focus on developing the skills of the players and placing little emphasis on winning. Weaknesses appear to be a lack of a consistent curriculum for coaches to utilize and a lack of skilled coaches to teach the intricacies of the game of ice hockey.
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