Testing the KRuger-dunning effect with coaches: Are incompetent coaches unaware of their incompetence?


Kruger and Dunning (1999) found that individuals' perceived competence was related to objective assessments of their ability in a particular way. Specifically, the most incompetent individuals tend to show significantly inflated perceived competence. This pattern has been found in a variety of contexts, including industry, health and education (Dunning et al., 2004). The current study was designed to see if the effect would be present in coaching. Seventy-nine experienced high school coaches (50 male, 29 female) participated in the study. Perceived competence was assessed via the strategy and teaching technique factors of the Coaching Efficacy Scale (Feltz et al., 1999). Actual coaching ability was measured with a test of volleyball skills and strategy designed and validated for this study. As per Kruger and Dunning's protocol, coaches were placed into quartiles based on their answers on the coaching knowledge assessment tool. Within each quartile, a paired samples t-test was performed on the differences between efficacy and ability. Because the measures used different scales, z scores were used for analysis. Consistent with previous findings, coaches in the bottom quartile showed significantly higher efficacy than ability (t (13) = 4.93, p < .001). There were no differences between efficacy and ability in the second and third quartiles. However, coaches in the top quartile showed a significant difference (t (23) = -3.75, p <.001) whereby their efficacy was signifcantly lower than their ability.