Character Development Through Youth Sport: High School Coaches’ Perspectives about a Character-based Education Program

Kaitlyn A. Ferris, Andrea Vest Ettekal, Jennifer P. Agans, Brian M. Burkhard


This study examined high school sports coaches’ perspectives about a character-based coach education workshop designed to promote positive coaching practices and transform the culture of youth sports. Fifteen coaches (Mage= 42.07, SD = 14.62, 73.3% male) provided feedback about Positive Coaching Alliance’s (PCA) “Double-Goal Coach” training program and what aspects of the workshop they applied to their coaching practices. Results indicated that coaches believed that participation in PCA workshops contributed to the value coaches attributed to individuals, to coach-oriented character development, and to positive relationships within youth sports. The coaches also suggested changes in future PCA workshops. These findings provide preliminary evidence that coaches’ incorporate skills acquired through participation in character-based coach education programs. We discuss implications for coaches and athletes, and for policies aimed at enhancing positive youth attributes developed through sport.  

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