Empathic accuracy in the coach-athlete relationship
2014-01-23T15:02:09Z (GMT) by
The purpose of this project of research was to investigate empathic accuracy in the coach-athlete relationship. It presents methodological paradigms that, while well established in social psychology, are an innovative adaptation in sport psychology. Study 1 assessed the empathic accuracy of 40 coach-athlete dyads. Coaches in individual sports were more accurate than coaches in team sports, and this result was mediated by shared cognitive focus between coaches and athletes. Coaches whose training sessions were longer demonstrated increased empathic accuracy, while female athletes were significantly more accurate than male athletes when working with a male coach. Study 2 assessed the empathic accuracy of 60 coach-athlete dyads. The results indicated an association between members' meta-perceptions Gudgments that their partner is positive about the athletic relationship) and increased empathic accuracy. Increased empathic accuracy was in turn associated with higher levels of satisfaction for athletes. No links between performance and empathic accuracy were evident. Finally, study 3 explored how the empathic accuracy of 60 badminton coaches was influenced by their professional training and personality, and the quality of feedback they received from the athlete. All coaches watched a video of a technical training session and made inferences about what the athlete's thoughts and feelings had been. Half the coaches were given corrective feedback. Empathic accuracy improved over the course of the video for both groups; the experimental group improved significantly more. Coaches' coaching experience and imagination were significantly associated with empathic accuracy for the control group only. This thesis has contributed to researchers' knowledge of how coaches and athletes understand each other and how this is influenced by how they interact and the views they hold about each other. It has expanded the broader literature on empathic accuracy through its examination in this unique context. The findings of this research highlight: (a) empathic accuracy can be measured in an actual training context, (b) the dynamics of the interaction play a key role in how well partners can accurately perceive each other, (c) empathic accuracy is associated with positive outcomes, and (d) empathic accuracy can be improved by manipulation.