Interscholastic sports are the most salient form of competition in almost every U.S. high school. The educational benefits of competitive sports have not been fully demonstrated, and yet life skills development serves as a major justification for high school sports. Sports are credited with teaching many culturally valued attitudes, such as respect, honesty, fairness, and responsibility. At the same time, interscholastic sports exist within a highly competitive context in which the goal to win is taken for granted. The importance that has been placed on winning can often negatively impact the ability of coaches to teach valuable life skills (Bredemeier & Shields, 2001). The purpose of this qualitative study is to better understand how the emphasis placed on winning might impede the coaching process, specifically as a barrier to teaching life skills.
A purposive sample of eight female high school coaches was taken to represent four girls’ team sports (basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and water polo) with coaching experience ranging from four to forty years. Semi-structured interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. As data were analyzed, they were categorized under four broad headings: Coaching as Teaching, Important Life Skills, Strategies for Teaching Life Skills, and The Importance of Winning. Emergent themes within these four categories reveal that these coaches teach a diverse array of life skills that they also believe will help their teams to win games. Overall, these coaches view the relationship between the importance of winning and teaching life skills as complementary, not contradictory, concepts. The conclusion presents recommendations for coaching research and education based on the relational expertise of coaches, the risks associated with trying to win, and the role of gender ideology.
|Commitee:||Donahue, David M., Duff, Julia L., Zirkel, Sabrina|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical education, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||Coaching, Competitive sports, High school, Life skills, Women in sports|
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