Objectives: Prior research has indicated that improving the behavior of youth sport coaches can enhance the self-esteem of boys age 12-14, particularly for those who begin the season with low self-esteem [Smoll, F. L., Smith, R. E., Barnett, N. P., & Everett, J. J. (1993). Enhancement of children's self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 602-610]. The purpose of the present study was to extend the literature by testing the efficacy of a psychosocial coach training intervention for enhancing the self-esteem of male and female swimmers aged 7-18 years. Methods: Youth (N=135) and coaches (N=7) participated in a randomized efficacy trial comparing the effects of a psychosocial coach training intervention to an injury prevention intervention on changes in youth self-esteem over the course of a 7-week swim season. Three waves of data were collected: Beginning-of-season (pre-intervention), mid-season, and end-of-season. Results: Longitudinal growth modeling indicated significant variability in initial levels of self-esteem at beginning-of-season, but no significant mean level changes over time. Effects of the experimental intervention were moderated by age, initial level of self-esteem, and gender. Effects of psychosocial coach training were strongest for younger participants, and for girls who started the season with low levels of self-esteem. Conclusions: Training coaches in psychosocial and behavioral principles is an effective way to alter coach behavior and enhance the athlete-coach relational context. Psychosocial coach training is also associated with gains in self-esteem for some, but not all, athletes and may be most important for youth who need it most. Implications for coach training programs are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology