Coach Observation Analysis

The purpose of this study is to observe the behaviors of an established coach, and to analyze those behaviors against a standardized coaching behavior instrument in order to obtain first-person, in-depth observation of the practice of coaching. A secondary purpose of this assignment is to develop your skills and appreciation with regards to scientifically observing and reporting on the practice of sport coaching.

Part I – Preparation
Establish contact with a local coach that you would like to observe. You may need to make an extensive effort to make contact with a coach, so allow three times as long as you think it will take to establish contact and gain approval. Be sure to inquire about any clearances you might need to obtain in order to enter school buildings, as well as parking and transportation.

I will provide a Kin401-Coach-observation-letter that will explain the nature and purpose of this assignment, and will encourage the coach to contact me with any further questions.

You cannot observe a coach that you have played for as an athlete (ask Andy why).

Familiarize yourself with the twelve coaching behaviors from the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS). A video will be provided through the Desire2Learn page for this course under the Content page. Read the articles that describe the use of the CBAS.

Write your expectations, specifically, what coaching behaviors do you think will be the most common, and why?

Part II – Observing Practice
When it is time to observe practice, arrive 30 minutes prior to your observation. Introduce yourself to the coach, and ask where the coach would like you to stand or sit during the observation (keeping in mind that you will need to see and hear the coach during the practice). Remember that you are a guest of the program, so represent yourself with dignity, and show respect to the coach and his/her program.

Before practice begins, make observations of the practice environment. Take brief notes about the elements of the environment that stand out for you. We will discuss a rubric for making observations of the practice environment during class.


During the practice, observe the coach while you complete the observation form. As you observe the practice, make special notice of the following anomalies in coach behavior: did the coach selectively attend to some players instead of others, and who were those players who received the most attention? What is the coach saying non-verbally to his/her players?

Part III: Analysis, write-up, peer-review, and revision of your study
The final write-up should have the following sections

  • Title page – Title of your study, your full name, Michigan State University
  • Abstract – 150-200 word summary of your entire paper, including the rationale for coach observation and analysis, the methods of observation you employed, most important results, and implications of your observation.
  • Introduction – The introduction should explain the relationship between coaching behaviors and athlete performance. Describe past studies that have described the detailed observation of coaches. Describe the context of the program where you are doing your observation, including observations of the practice environment and other incidentals that may have an effect on the practice.
  • Methods – There are two major subsections to the methods section, participants and procedures.  (1) Participants – describe in detail the participants in your observation – who is the coach, what is the location and level of the program, who are the players (demographic information, but do not give names).  (2) Procedures – describe in detail your procedures – explain the CBAS to me as if I were a high-school level student and didn’t have any background on coach behavioral observation.
  • Results – Your results should have a breakdown of the frequency of the 12 behaviors that you assessed, including both the total number of behaviors observed, and the percentage of each behavior. For the most frequent behaviors, give some context (“the most frequent behavior was punitive technical instruction, which frequently occurred while the coach was teaching a defensive drill”). Your results should also include a summary of any open-ended observations that you made before, during, or after the practice – however, do not *analyze* these observations in the results section, simply report them as your observations in a concise and logical fashion.
  • Discussion – The discussion should include your analysis and interpretation of your observations. Some questions that might help you get started writing your discussion section follow: How were your expectations different from the behaviors that you observed? Were there any moments of the practice that had special significance to you, or that really stood out for their impact on the players? According to your data, what type of athlete behaviors was the coach most responsive to? What types of behaviors did the coach ignore? How would you describe the motivational climate created by the coach – did it reinforce high levels of effort, or did it reinforce high levels of talent/winning? If you had spoken with the athletes, what do you think they would have told you about their coach and his/her behavior?
  • Limitations (subsection of the discussion section) – a one-off observation of a coach is telling, but does your observation tell the entire story of this program? What are some of the scientific limitations of your study? To tell the entire story of this coach and program, what perspectives would you need? How could you gain those perspectives scientifically?
  • References – Using the APA Reference List style, list any and all references that you used in the creation of this document, including any lectures from class or online.

Peer-Review Process
You will need to have a completed draft of your write-up for a peer-review session in class on Monday, March 23. This means you will need to complete your observation in January or February in order to be prepared for this peer-review date. Prior to the peer review you will need to submit an electronic copy of your draft write-up to a D2L dropbox, and then you must bring a paper copy of your draft to class. You will receive a comprehension assignment grade for participating in the peer-review process.

Final draft
The final draft of your paper must be submitted electronically to employ originality checking (Turn It In), and you must also bring a printed paper copy on the final due date. Feel free to double-side print your document to cut down on paper-use. You will need to attach the peer-reviewed copy of your first draft with your editor’s comments. The final paper is due on Monday, March 30.

Grading Rubric (100 points)
The final draft should be between 10-12 pages (APA formatted), not including the title page, abstract, references, or any extensively long tables or figures. That is roughly 2-3 pages per section (though the actual balance may not be exactly equal). While I do not want you to pad your paper with unnecessary content, it should take this many pages to clearly make your points.

  • Title page & abstract (10 points) – Title page included and formatted properly; abstract concisely summarizes all four major sections of your study
  • Introduction (10 points) – Past studies and a rationale for coach observation explained; contextual details about observed program are provided
  • Methods (15 points) – Detailed explanation of both the participants and the procedures employed in your observation
  • Results (15 points) – Results table included with appropriate breakdown of frequencies of coaching behaviors; you provide an explanation of the most frequent behaviors to set them in context; open-ended observations are reported (not analyzed)
  • Discussion (15 points) – Thoughtfully interpret your results section. Explain how the observation differed from your expectations. Based on your data, how would you characterize this coaching environment?
  • Limitations (5 points) – subsection of the discussion section; explain limitations of a one-time observation; explain what else you would need to study to provide the full story of this program
  • References (5 points) – follows APA format, consistent across all references, no URLs for journal articles
  • Grammar and technical elements (15 points) – you have clearly read-over and edited your paper for grammatical flaws and spelling mistakes
  • Responsiveness to editors comments (10 points) – your draft has changed after peer-review, in-line with suggestions made by your editor

Bloom, G. A., Crumpton, R., & Anderson, J. E. (1999). A systematic observation study of the teaching behaviors of an expert basketball coach. The Sport Psychologist, 13, 157-170.

Technical specifications
The paper should be written following APA format (see Purdue OWL APA formatting guide for a comprehensive guide). Pay special attention to the following:

– Appropriate sections and sub-sections of your paper, labeled using the proper heading levels
– Appropriate in-text citations (Author, Year)
– Appropriate reference list
– Appropriate margins (1″) and double-spaced
– Title-page, correct running-head, and page numbers
– Avoid extensive quotations from published authors/sources (summarize and put into your own words!)

APA Formatting: Title Page, Running Head, and Section Headings

APA Formatting: In-text Citations, Quotations, and Plagiarism

APA Formatting: Reference List