An analysis of the role optimism and pessimism play in the coaching techniques of Division I intercollegiate golfers
Wilson, Matthew James
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The rise in money associated with intercollegiate athletics has created a high-pressure environment for both coaches and players. Today’s intercollegiate coaches and players compete in a situation, whereby the sole value of success is the team’s won-loss record. To date, the coaching research has been found to contain a plethora of studies investigating various characteristics of the coach/player relationship (Chelladuai, 1984; Horne & Carron, 1985; Gould, 1988; Black & Weiss, 1992; Coté, Salmela, Trudel, Baria, & Russell, 1995; Bloom, Durand-Bush, & Salmela, 1997). However, there is a dearth of research investigating the effects of explanatory style on coaching techniques. The current study investigated the influence explanatory style (the manner in which an individual explains his/her surroundings, experiences, or outlook towards the world around him/her) has on the coaching techniques of Division I intercollegiate golf coaches. The most common terms associated with the classification of an individual’s explanatory style are optimism and pessimism (Seligman, 1991). The present study used a mixed-model methodology. Individual optimism and pessimism levels were obtained from Division I Golf coaches (N=8) and golfers (N=40) during a three-day Division I intercollegiate golf tournament, through the administration of the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R) (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994). Qualitative data were obtained through standardized open-ended interviews with five of the eight coaches based on their LOT-R scores. The researcher incorporated an interpretational qualitative analysis of the interview data. The results from the quantitative portion of the study were compared and contrasted (triangulation) with the results from the qualitative portion of the study. These results were used to investigate the effects of optimism and pessimism on the coaching techniques of intercollegiate golfers. The results of this mixed-model research design indicated a weak positive relationship between the players’ self-reported explanatory style and the coaches’ perceived players’ explanatory style (r = .32, p< .05). A weak positive relationship was also found between the coaches’ self-reported explanatory style and the players’ perceived coaches’ explanatory style (r = .37, p < .05). Further qualitative analysis indicated that coaches implement the technique of redirecting their less optimistic player’s thought and self-talk processes after a less successful round of competitive golf. In addition, the coaches believed their players might lack a realistic understanding of their own explanatory style. Lastly, the results indicated the coaches attempt to engage in self-awareness training techniques as a means of changing pessimistic explanatory style.