The influence of participant behaviour on officials' satisfaction


Despite their critical role, officials have been largely overlooked in the sport psychology literature. It is the purpose of this study to examine how participants' behaviour in the sporting context (i.e., coaches, players, and spectators) influences officials' satisfaction with the event. The Justplay Behaviour Management Program (JBMP) asks all game officials to provide a behavioural conduct rating of the home and away coach, players, and spectators on a scale of 1 Very Good to 5 Very Poor. They also provide a rating of their satisfaction with the game on the same scale. The data collection tool is known as a card. Data were collected by the JBMP from 120 officials in approximately 279 games in three sports (baseball, soccer, and football) which resulted in 1066 cards. Overall, officials were quite satisfied with the games (Ms = 1.52, 1.59, and 1.76 respectively). The six behavioural conduct ratings were then regressed on the satisfaction ratings using a stepwise linear regression for each sport (ps < .000). The influence of participant behaviour on officials' satisfaction differed for each sport. In baseball, the home and away players and coaches, and home spectators were the most influential (R2 adjusted = .78). For soccer officials, all three visiting participants and the home coaches were most influential (R2 adjusted = .42); and for football, only the coaches of both the home and away teams influenced the officials' satisfaction (R2 adjusted = .38). Discussion will revolve around implications for officiating training and the role sport psychology can play in this education.