Adult-oriented coaching practices: Assessing the role of congruence


Recent qualitative evidence (Callary et al., 2017) suggests that adult-oriented coaching practices may enhance Masters athletes' (MAs) sport experiences. Most cognitively mediated coaching models posit that when athletes' preferences for coaching practices align with the coaching practices used (i.e., congruence), athletes should have more satisfying sport experiences (Smoll et al., 1978). In this study, paired samples of coaches (n = 41) and their MAs (n = 181) completed the Adult-Oriented Sport Coaching Survey (AOSCS; Rathwell et al., 2020) and demographic questions. MAs also completed the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (Jowett & Ntoumanis, 2004), the Basic Needs Satisfaction in Sport Scale (Ng et al., 2011), the Psychological Needs Thwarting Scale (Bartholomew et al., 2011) and questions assessing practice-liking, sport commitment, sport investment, and sport enjoyment. Congruence was calculated using difference scores (between coaches' and MAs' perceptions of how often coaches use adult-oriented coaching practices). Cross-sectional path analyses showed that more congruent adult-oriented coaching practices were positively associated with quality coach-athlete relationships, MAs' basic needs satisfaction, practice-liking, sport investment, and sport enjoyment with small to large effect sizes (B = -.32 to .17; Cohen, 1988). Mediation analyses, with congruence as the mediator, showed that relationships between coaches' use of adult-oriented coaching practices and MAs' outcomes did not depend on congruence. Our findings suggest that congruence can affect the quality of MAs' sport experiences; however, we also discuss the complexities of measuring, calculating, and analyzing congruence around coaching practices in the context of Masters sports.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada #227348.