Growth-minded athletes: does coaching feedback matter?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jill Wierzba (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Diane Gill

Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to begin to understand the relationship between coaching feedback focal points and mindset (fixed and growth) in an adult athletic population. The specific aim was to determine what types of verbal feedback focal points (person-, outcome-, process-focused) coaches used when coaching their athletes and how this related to the mindset of athletes. Fifteen coaches (M=33 years old; experience M=4.8 years coaching; 9 male; 6 female) and 65 total athletes (32 female, 33 male; M=38 years old) participated in the study. The hypotheses were: 1) coaches give more person- and outcome-focused praise feedback than process-focused feedback, and 2) athletes who receive more process-focused praise will report more growth mindset type beliefs. An observational method of coaching behavior was used to gather feedback focal point data, and adult athletes filled out a mindset questionnaire. Data analysis used Pearson’s Correlation and results indicated that no significant correlational relationship existed for process-focused praise (r = .040, p = .888, n = 15) or person- and outcome focused praise (r = -.104, p = .713, n = 15). However, r-values and trend lines of the 15 data sets suggest the predicted relationship that mirrors the praise focal point relationship found with teacher-student studies. Therefore, a larger sample size may give more clarity to this relationship and better inform coaching best practices for adults and athletic populations. These findings may benefit coaching education and help to intentionally build a growth mindset within athletics.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Coach education, Criticism, Feedback, Fixed and growth mindset, Implicit beliefs, Praise
Coaching (Athletics) $x Psychological aspects
Sports $x Psychological aspects
Coach-athlete relationships
Feedback (Psychology)

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