Examining Differential Coaching Behaviors in Positive Coaches: A Mixed-Methods Perspective Guided by the Expectation Performance Process

  • Megan Buning Augusta University
Keywords: self-fulfilling prophecy, female athletes, differential treatment


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine differences in perceptions of coach behaviors of athletes of varying performance abilities situated within a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The mixed-methods approach allowed for a more holistic examination of softball athletes’ perspectives of head coaching behaviors.  Division I softball athletes (n = 148) completed the CBAS-PBS providing perceptions of head coach (n =20) behavior.  Coaches rated each athlete using the MERS providing a performance expectation score.  Thirty-eight athletes provided supporting perspectives through individual interviews on perceptions of differential treatment based on expected performance level.  Cluster analysis produced low, average, and high expectancy groups.  MANOVA and DFA revealed two underlying functions that distinguished between groups.  High expectancy athletes experienced less ‘detached’ coaching behaviors than low or average athletes. Qualitative findings supported teammates perceive lower rated athletes are treated differently.  

Author Biography

Megan Buning, Augusta University

Assistant Professor of Research

Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation


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