Who is Prepared to Coach Beyond?: Ohio Coaches' Self-Efficacy to Support Student-Athletes On and Off the Field

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Background and Purpose: Over 7 million youth participate in high school athletics annually in the U.S. (National Federation of State High Schools Associations, 2017). Because sport reaches so many, it serves as an important opportunity for youth to gain skills related to sport, physical well-being, and life, and coaches are uniquely positioned to teach student-athletes these skills (Anderson-Butcher, 2019). Recent studies found that coaches who teach both traditional sport skills and life skills report greater feelings of satisfaction in their role, less stress, and a higher likelihood of winning (Bates & Anderson-Butcher, 2022). Knowing that a coach’s ability to teach skills on and off the field has positive effects on both coaches and student-athletes, this study seeks to determine if there is a relationship between participation in coach training on important topics—such as life skill development, mental health, and sport skills and techniques—and coaches’ self-efficacy to "Coach Beyond” according to the Coach Beyond Readiness Index (Bates et al., 2023); a measure grounded in self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1977). Methods: Data for this study were collected in fall 2021 in a state-wide coaching survey in Ohio. The state-wide survey included 17 items comprising the Coach Beyond Readiness Index (CBRI; Bates et al., 2023). The CBRI is a novel, valid, and reliable scale designed to measure coaches’ perceptions of their abilities to support the holistic development and health of student-athletes (Bates et al., 2023). Specifically, the dependent variables for this study are coach efficacy on the four subscales of the CBRI: (a) Promoting life skill development through sport; (b) Promoting social-emotional health; (c) Teaching sport tactics and techniques; and (d) Planning training and conditioning. Subscales include multiple items that use a Likert response to assess coaches’ perceived efficacy in the aforementioned domains. The independent variables are prior participation (binary variable; 0 = No; 1 = Yes) in corresponding coach trainings including (a) life skill development; (b) mental health; and (c) sport skills and techniques. In total, 5,656 Ohio coaches participated in this survey (89% male; 11% female). Data were analyzed using independent-sample t-tests by comparing mean CBRI scores between coaches who have received training in related topics to those who have not. Differences in mean scores were considered significant at the p <.05. Results: The 2,569 participants who received training in life skill development (M = 4.70, SD = .41) compared to the 1,797 participants who did not (M = 4.60, SD = .46) reported significantly higher levels of confidence in promoting life skill development through sport (p < .001, d = .43). The 2,356 participants who received mental health training (M = 4.16, SD = .55) compared to the 1,936 participants who did not receive mental health training (M = 3.80, SD = .59) reported significantly higher levels of confidence in promoting social-emotional health (p < .001, d = .57). The 3,688 participants who received training in sport skills and techniques (M = 4.53, SD = .44) compared to the 731 participants who have not received such training (M = 4.28, SD = .50) reported significantly higher levels of confidence in teaching sport tactics and techniques (p < .001, d = .45). Coaches who received training in sport skills and techniques (M = 4.24, SD = .66) compared to coaches who have not (M = 3.93, SD = .75) reported significantly higher levels of confidence in training and conditioning (p < .001, d = .68) as well. Conclusions and Implications: This study reveals that receiving training in tactics and techniques, life skill development through sport, training and conditioning, and social-emotional health is significantly related to increased levels of self-efficacy and preparation to utilize those skills in practice to “Coach Beyond.” Of concern is whether coaches have access to adequate training. In Ohio, Atkinson et al. (2022) reported that less than 20% of the content required for Ohio school-based coach training requirements covers social-emotional learning or positive youth development through sport (Atkinson et al., 2022). Additionally, few coaches in Ohio report feeling confident about addressing mental health concerns or helping athletes regulate their emotions (Bates & Anderson Butcher, 2022). Given these findings and the dramatic increase in U.S. adolescent mental health concerns (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022), there is a need to increase training opportunities for coaches, especially regarding life skill development and social-emotional health. Increasing coach training could contribute to greater coach self-efficacy to support student-athletes both on and off the field.


Social and Behavioral Sciences: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Advanced Research Forum)


Coaching, Coach Education, Sport, Athlete Mental Health, Self-Efficacy