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Quantitative Examination of Generation Z Student Athletes’ Perceptions of Coaching Behaviors

Chapter 1: Introduction
With each new generation of students, learning and teaching approaches need to be

reconsidered to ensure they align with the characteristics of the new generation (Gilbert, 2017).

The same can be said for coaching student athletes. For example, characteristics of millennial

student athletes are said to be substantial different from previous generations, and, thus, they

react differently to coaching behaviors they experience (Broodryk & Van Den Berg, 2016). In

contrast to millennials, generation Z student athletes are noted as being overwhelmed with

certain coaching behaviors that millennials were not (Cronin & Allen, 2018). Vocally demanding

coaches, those who use a very loud and stern voice, who are confrontational and get in student

athletes’ personal space put generation Z student athletes in a bad mental space, in which they

get down on their selves for not meeting expectations from coaches (Cronin & Allen, 2018).

Generation Z represents the population born between the late 1990s or 2000 (Puiu, 2017),

while Millennials are typically defined as those born between 1982 and 2004 (Martin & Zachary,

2016), so some overlap does exist in membership. However, with each new generation of student

athletes, coaches must reevaluate the approaches they use to motivate and train athletes to

achieve the level of success they are capable of (Uzum, 2018). Past researchers focusing on

coaching millennials revealed specific coaching behaviors athletes perceived as most effective

for improving their motivation and performance (Chiu, Mahat, Hua & Radzuman, 2013; Puiu,

2017). Millennials preferred social media socialization, which eliminates face-to-face contact. In

contrast, coaching disciplinarians, who are firm in expectations and do not allow any excuses

from student athletes, wanted the personal face-to-face interaction to make a direct point to the

student athlete audience. Additional coaching behavioral strategies help to build student’s

athletes’ overall confidence towards performance outcomes (Boardley & Kassim, 2018). Now

that Generation Z student athletes are in high school, their perceptions of coaching behaviors
need to be evaluated once again so that coaches can continue to be informed of how best to

achieve the performance outcomes they desire of their student athletes (Broodryk & Van Den

Berg, 2016). Generation Z

Coaching behaviors high school athletes are exposed to affect the overall health and

wellness of the student-athlete (Chaumeton, Duncan, & Strycker 2015; Gilbert, 2017; Goldberg,

2018). The relationship between coaches and their student athlete creates opportunity to improve

the physical, mental and social-emotional development of the student athletes (Uzum, 2018). For

example, coaching behaviors associated with empathy can help build trust from player to coach

and coach to player; this creates the opportunity for a student athlete to feel vulnerable with the

coaching staff (Nicholls, Morley & Perry, 2016). Empathetic coaches understand and put value

to what student athletes are going through and the emotions that a Generation Z athlete is feeling.

Positive feedback is another area of coaching behaviors that creates positive opportunities

between coaches and players (Keatlholetswe & Malete, 2019). The quality of athletes’

experiences will substantially be affected by the respective coaching behaviors (Broodryk & Van

Den Berg, 2011). Moreover, the coach is the key person who can help elevate the student

athlete’s performance to his or her highest level (Uzum, 2018).

Coaching behaviors are built towards four core student athlete outcomes that should

result from effective coaching: competence, confidence, connection and character (Bradley &

Kassim, 2018). Coaching behaviors directly influence and motivate student athletes’ effort,

commitment, enjoyment and perceptions of character building effectiveness (Bradley & Kassim,

2018). Coaching behaviors also influence student athletes’ achievement goals to perform better

than others (Takamatsu & Yamaguchi, 2018). Providing feedback in response to players’

successes and failures should translate into desirable outcomes such as increased competence
(Amorose & Nolan-Sellers, 2016). The way that athletes perceive their coach’s coaching

behaviors influences their performance (Takamatsu & Yamaguchi, 2018). Student athletes’

responses to coaching behaviors come from their perceptions, interpretations, and evaluation of

their coaches’ behaviors (Amorose & Nolan-Sellers, 2016).

Members of Generation Z have been described as having specific characteristics that are

usually compared and contrasted with those of millennials, their predecessors. There is much

strength associated with Generation Z – creativity, passion, innovation, energy – and these

youngsters, overall, are more dynamic than of both Baby Boomers and Generation Y (Puiu,

2017). Members of Generation Z are different from previous generations; they are self-learners

and have access to online programs and resources to learn what they want when they want it

(Puiu, 2017). Generation Z members are loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open minded,

responsible and determined (Puiu, 2017). Generation Z is very descriptive; they need coaches to

explain in details what their expectations are, so the messages from coaches need to be

transparent (Martin & Zachary, 2016). Having a better understanding of Generation Z allows

coaches to plan better to maximize comprehension and achievement of team and individual goals

as well as performance outcomes. A closer examination of how coaching behaviors and

strategies are perceived by current student athletes will aide coaches in the determining specific

strategies and action plans for each individual student athletes and overall team goals.

Generation Z student athletes, when placed in a coaching environment, will have a

different response to coaching behaviors than student athletes of prior generations (Uzum, 2018).

There are many different coaching behaviors that are showcased through different individual

sports and team sports that student athletes are exposed to. Student athletes’ exposure to a variety

of coaching behaviors is a critical part of learning expectations and core values (Gilbert, 2017;
Goldberg, 2018; Martin & Zachary, 2016; Puiu, 2017). However, coaching strategies for

Generation Z should align with athletes’ goals and preferences, as they will directly impact

student athletes’ perceptions of their coaches and influence performance outcomes (Boardley &

Kassim, 2018). Generation Z’s perceptions of emotional coaching behaviors directly influences

student athletes’ performance outcomes (Bradley & Kassim, 2018).

Student athletes’ perception of coaching behaviors can directly affect their motivation to

the coach and participate in the sport (Gilbert, 2017). If coaching behaviors displayed on a day to

day basis are found to be negative and harmful, they can have a negative impact on player or

team motivation and performance outcomes (Goldberg, 2018). If coaching behaviors are

perceived as positive and are well received, they may boost individual and team motivations to

perform at exceptional levels (Uzum, 2018). Motivational effectiveness often relates to athletes’

ratings of their coach’s ability to develop the skills and motivational states of the athletes they

coach (Boardley & Kassim, 2018). Coaching behaviors and strategies that are the best fit for

generation Z should be aligned with strategies that truly motivate this new generation to listen,

learn and apply the strategies and philosophies necessary for personal victories for each student

athletes as well as collective team victories to perform and execute at the most efficient level

possible to win (Chaumeton, Duncan & Stryder, 2018). Coaching behavior strategies for

generation Z should align with team member’s behaviors and attitudes (Takamatsu &

Yamaguchi, 2018). For example, very specific individual and team goals get aligned with team

core values. Core values, which include but not are limited to discipline, honesty, selflessness,

work ethic and mental toughness, are the necessary foundational applications individual and

team sports need.


Student athletes’ need for and response to coaching behaviors may differ depending on

the sport as well as whether it is an individual or team sport (Gilbert, 2017). Individual sports

may include, but are not limited to, track and field and wrestling, while team sports include, but

are not limited to, basketball and football. Individual sports are those sports that are focused on

an individual’s specific performance outcomes without a group or team. Team sports generally

require a specific number of players working together so the strategy and performance outcomes

have more variables than an individual sport. Thus, consideration of different variables results in

different behaviors and strategies that must be used by coaches.

Statement of the Problem

The problem addressed in this study is that generation Z student athletes are now in high

school and coaches may not be adapting their behaviors to the characteristics of this generation

given little research exists on how these student athletes perceive the effectiveness of different

coaching behaviors for improving their motivation and performance in both individual and team

sports (Keatholetswe & Malete, 2019). The current bulk of the recent research regarding

coaching behaviors is focused on millennial student athletes (Nicholls, Morley & Perry, 2016),

and the notable differences between these two generations of student athletes warrant additional

research examining if and how the perceptions of coaching for members of generation Z are

different (Uzum, 2018). In addition, given the unique characteristics of generation Z, current

high school student athletes may perceive coaching behaviors differently depending on their

participation in an individual or team sport (Malete & Keatlholetswe, 2019). Without a deeper

understanding of how these student-athletes of generation Z perceive the effectiveness of

different coaching behaviors, coaches may not be able to be as effective as they could be at

motivating their athletes to perform at their highest level.


Purpose of Study

The purpose of this quantitative descriptive, correlational, and casual-comparative study

is to (a) identify the perceptions of generation Z high school student-athletes with regard to

coaching behaviors that enhance their motivation and performance (b) examine how these

perceptions relate to how they perceive effectiveness of the coaching they are receiving in their

current sport, and (c) investigate if these perceptions differ between student athletes participating

in individual and team sports. The hope is to address the disconnect with coaching behaviors and

generation Z high school student athletes. Having a better understanding of generation Z

characteristics and perceptions can help coaches get a better plan in place to maximize

comprehension of team and individual goals and performance outcomes.

The target population will be student athletes attending a private school in Georgia. G

Power one-way multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) will include a sample size of twenty

student athletes from ten from individual and ten from team sports. (Group A) 10 student athletes

from individual sports will conduct a survey one at a time and separate from all other coaches

and peers. The G-power will utilize an alpha of 0.05 and 3% smallest size of scientific interest.

(Group B) 10 student athletes from team sports will conduct surveys one at a time and separated

from coaches and peers. (Group 1A) will also conduct a coaching behavior survey individually

for individual sports; (Group 1B) will also take a coaching behavior perception survey of 10

questions for team sports. Research questions one through four is descriptive, correlational, and

comparative will be answered through descriptive, correlational, as well as comparative analysis.

Hypothesis one through three will be answered through analysis from statistical results. These

results will prove or disprove the hypothesis in the research study.


Data will be collected through online surveys using survey monkey. The participants will get

notified via email regarding the data collection exercise and particular details of the data

collection exercise. The research will embrace parent consent as an ethical practice before

proceeding with the data collection exercise

Theoretical Framework

The framework for this study is grounded by several theories that focus on explaining the

value of understanding generation Z student athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors. These

theories are: (a) the theory of coaching behavior effectiveness (Kassim & Boardley, 2018), (b)

the theory of coaching competency on athlete motivation of performance (Takamatsu &

Yamaguchi, 2018), (c) the theory of relationship of coach to student athlete (Amorose & Nolan-

Sellers, 2016), and (d) the theory of generational differences (Uzum, 2018). These four theories

work together to explain how the relationship of coach to player and team is built through

coaching behaviors and strategies that serve to either hinder or promote motivation and

performance (cite). Coaches who are most competent are those who are able to identify

behaviors that will motivate rather than demotivate resulting in higher effort and performance

from their athletes (cite). With each new generation of student athletes, coaching behaviors need

to strategically align with that generation’s characteristics in order to fulfill the needs of student

athletes and increase performance outcomes for individual athletes and teams (Uzum, 2018).

The theory of coaching behavior effectiveness explains the relationship from coach to

player and how the styles and methods of coaches are perceived by student athletes of generation

Z (Kassim & Boardley, 2018). Typically, the model suggests that actions, reactions, as well as

responses of an individual, team , or orgamanization.The theory was developed to help various

individuals to increase their happiness and effectiveness at work The theory of coaching
competency on athlete motivation and performance works to describe whether coaching styles

and behaviors are transparent enough to the student athlete audience to successfully achieve the

performance outcomes set by the coach or coaches (Takamatsu & Yamaguchi, 2018). The theory

of relationship of coach to student athlete will predict the perception of generation Z is to

coaching behaviors from individual and team sports; also explain how student athletes are

motivated by their relationship with their coach in individual and team sports (Amorose &

Nolan-Sellers, 2016).

Nature of Study

The research methodology chosen was a quantitative design due to the focus on examining the

relationship among variables and identifying if significant differences exist between student

athletes in individual and team sports (Cronin & Allen, 2018). Perceptions of generation Z high

school student athletes and how they respond and relate to current coaching behaviors will

inform practice through identification of how best to motivate generation Z student athletes to

achieve the desired performance in either an individual or team sport. Correlation methods as

indicated by Thyer (2012),) are best employed to examine how generation Z student athletes’

perceptions of the coaching behaviors they perceive as effective and motivating relate to the

effectiveness of the coaching they report they are receiving in their current sport. The goal is to

identify what disconnect may exist between coaching behaviors generation Z high school student

athletes report motivate them and the behaviors their coach displays currently. Little research

exists on how this new generation of student athletes perceives the effectiveness of different

coaching behaviors for improving their motivation and performance in both individual and team;

thus, a quantitative study that describes the coaching behaviors these athletes report motivate and

enhance their performance can directly inform coaching practices. Moreover, the research
method generation Z examines how coaching behaviors relate to student athletes’ perceptions of

the effectiveness of the coaching they are receiving in their current sport can identify specific

behaviors that coaches may want to target for their own improvement and effectiveness. Finally,

determining if any differences exist on these measures between student athletes participating in

individual and team sports can also prescribe possible coaching shifts that may need to happen

depending on the sport being coached.

Research Questions

RQ1. What coaching behaviors does high school student-athletes report motivate them?

RQ2. What coaching behaviors do high school student-athletes report improve their

performance?

RQ3. How do student athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors relate to the

effectiveness they report of their current high school coach?

RQ4. How do, if at all, the perceptions of coaching behaviors differ between student-

athletes in individual versus team sports?

Hypothesis

H3o. No correlation exists between student athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors

and the effectiveness they report of their current high school coach.

H3a. One or more significant correlations exist between student athletes’ perceptions of

coaching behaviors and the effectiveness they report of their current high school coach.

H4o. There will be no significant difference between athletes from individual and team

sports with regard to perceptions of coaching behaviors and coaching effectiveness.


H4a. There will be one or more significant differences between athletes from individual

and team sports with regard to perceptions of coaching behaviors and coaching effectiveness.

Significance of Study

Greater understanding of student athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors is important

because it can impact the outcomes for both the student athlete and coaches (Nicholls, Morley &

Perry, 2016). Student athletes’ social development, motivation towards sport, academic

motivation, development of team core values, and performance based outcomes in sports are all

influenced by coaches and the behaviors and strategies they choose to employ (Uzum, 2018).

The hope is that results of the study can be used to enhance awareness and efficacy of the

relationship built between coach and generation Z student athletes such that they can achieve

their performance goals in the sport of their choosing. Proper training of coaches should include

appropriate methods and strategies for improving motivation and performance of their athletes

while attending to the overall mental, physical, social and emotional health of high school

student athletes.

High school coaches who work most closely with student athletes will benefit by

gaining a better understanding of student athletes’ motivation towards performance outcomes

(Uzum, 2018). Coaches have the responsibility to be servant and tireless leaders to students

(Takatmatsu & Yamaguchi, 2018), and have a professional obligation as educators to provide,

protect and develop future leaders of the world through sport. Understanding how student

athletes perceive coaching behaviors and their coach’s generation Z will advance knowledge of

how best to coach generation Z student athletes and this can be used to build stronger

relationships and outcomes. As coaches are able to better align their behaviors with perceptions

of effectiveness, the positive consequences for a student athlete may be improved learning,
motivation and effort and an enhanced relationship with coaches and teammates. In addition,

student athletes who have coaches that can align with their needs and motivate them

appropriately may become better-rounded and dedicated student athlete. A closer examination of

coaching behaviors and strategies will inform coaches if and how they must change their

coaching strategies with their current high school student athletes.

Definition of Key Terms

Achievement goals. Achievement goals embody orientations on how the people engage

in situations related to achievement (Takatmatsu & Yamaguchi, 2018).

Athlete’s perception. Student athlete view and evaluation of coaching behaviors and

coaching styles (Amorose & Nolan-Sellers, 2016).

Behavior influence. Behavior influence encompasses coaching factors that directly

impact student athletes’ motivation in individual and team sports (Takatmatsu & Yamaguchi,

2018).

Character building. Involves developing and influencing individual integrity, character,

implementing individual and team core values (Bradley & Kassim, 2018).

Coaching behaviors. The actions and responses of coaches of individual and team sports

(Broodryk & Van Den Berg, 2016).

Competence. Competence involves the knowledge and the application of that

knowledge to achieve desired outcomes (Boardley & Kassim, 2018).

Generation Z. Generation Z involves the modern generation born between 1995 and

2015 (Puiu, 2017).


Health & wellness. Health and wellness includes mental, physical, emotional, and social

wellbeing for overall better health (Chaumeton, Duncan & Stryder, 2018).

Innovation. Innovation is the new method or way of doing something that hasn’t been

done before (Puiu, 2017).

Millennials. Millennials are individuals born between 1982 and 2004 (Martin & Zachary,

2016).

Motivation. Motivation is the reason why you are doing something to accomplish a

specific task or goal (Chiu, Mahat, Hua & Redzuma, 2013).

Perceptions of Coaching. Perceptions of coaching encompass the view and perspective

of a student athletes’ evaluation of their individual or team sports coach (Uzum, 2018).

Student Athletes. Student’s athletes involve students that participate in organized sports

activities (Boardley & Kassim, 2018).

Student Athletes Performance. Student athletes’ performance involves an evaluation of

student athletes’ assignment and execution through individual and team sports (Uzum, 2018).

Social Emotional Development. Social emotional development opines the expressions,

experience and management of emotional growth (Uzum, 2018).

Social Relationships. Social relationships involve the relationship between two or more

individuals (Amirkhan, Ledza & Huff, 2018).

New Generation. New generation embodies the next level of humanities development

(Gilbert, 2017).

Summary
The purpose of this quantitative descriptive, correlational and casual-comparative study is

to cover multiple layers: (1) describe generation’s z’s student athlete perceptions to high school

coaching behaviors and coaching strategies and how generation Z responds to the coaching

strategies effectiveness. (2) To explore what motivates generation Z student athletes in high

school to improve performance outcomes and how coaching behaviors and strategies direct and

guide such initiatives. (3) Coaching strategies and perceptions can change from individual and

team sports further research and explanation is needed to determine student athlete motivation in

both areas of coaching (4) to determine if there is any significant relationship between coaching

behaviors and generation Z student athlete’s performance outcomes. (5) Generational differences

and their perceptions of coaching strategies and behaviors. Generation Z represents the

population born between the late 1990s or 2000 (Puiu, 2017), while Millennials are typically

defined as those born between 1982 and 2004 (Martin & Zachary, 2016), so some overlap does

exist in membership. The problem addressed in this study is that generation Z student athletes are

now in high school and coaches may not be adapting their behaviors to the characteristics of this

generation given little research exists on how these student athletes perceive the effectiveness of

different coaching behaviors for improving their motivation and performance in both individual

and team sports (Keatholetswe & Malete, 2019). Without a deeper understanding of how these

student-athletes of generation Z perceive the effectiveness of different coaching behaviors,

coaches may not be able to be as effective as they could be at motivating their athletes to perform

at their highest level. The target population will be student athletes attending a private school in

Georgia. G Power one-way multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) will include a sample size

of twenty student athletes from ten from individual and ten from team sports. (Group A) 10

student athletes from individual sports will conduct a survey one at a time and separate from all
other coaches and peers. The research methodology chosen was a quantitative design due to the

focus on examining the relationship among variables and identifying if significant differences

exist between student athletes in individual and team sports (Cronin & Allen, 2018). Perceptions

of generation Z high school student athletes and how they respond and relate to current coaching

behaviors will inform practice through identification of how best to motivate generation Z

student athletes to achieve the desired performance in either an individual or team sport.

Typically, greater understanding of student athletes’ perceptions of coaching behaviors is

important because it can impact the outcomes for both the student athlete and coaches (Nicholls,

Morley & Perry, 2016). Student athletes’ social development, motivation towards sport,

academic motivation, development of team core values, and performance based outcomes in

sports are all influenced by coaches and the behaviors and strategies they choose to employ

(Uzum, 2018)

The data will be analyzed through G power one-way MANOVA to see if there is a

correlation through the research questions and hypothesis provided. The surveyed data collected

from student athletes (20) in total 10 from individual sport and 10 from team sport will be put

through SPSS to determine if any correlation results from the research questions. The

quantitative results will be used in answering the research questions and proving or disproving

the hypothesis
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