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Development and initial validation of the coaching athletes purpose scale
Coaching purpose defines why coaches do what they do, reflects coaches’ fundamental reasons for being a coach, and represents their motivations for coaching. Quality coaching means teaching life skills and valuable life lessons through sports with the ultimate purpose of the holistic development of athletes and their overall health and wellbeing. Using the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Quality Coaching Framework, the purpose of the present study was to develop and validate a scale designed to measure coaching purpose related to the athlete outcomes of competence, confidence, connection, and character. Following the review of literature, items were developed and subjected to content validation. As a result, a set of 51 items was finalized for pilot testing with a sample of coaches. Participants (N = 724) were NCAA coaches in the Division I, II, and III institutions who were recruited by emailing the link to the online survey with an invitation to participate in the survey. The analyses focused on examining validity and reliability of the items and optimizing the length of the scale. A five-factor interpretable solution was suggested by the results of a series of exploratory factor analysis, which were titled as coaching purpose related to the development of sport-specific competence, sport-general competence, confidence, connection, and character. During the series of exploratory factor analysis, the length of the scale was optimized by removing 21 items (41.7%), resulting in a 30-item scale. All subscales showed good internal consistency as indicated by Cronbach’s alphas. Several differences emerged on subscales across demographic and background variables. Compared to male coaches, female coaches reported lower coaching purpose related to sport-specific competence but higher coaching purpose related to connection. Compared to head coaches, assistant coaches reported higher coaching purpose related to sport-specific competence and lower coaching purpose related to character. Additionally, results showed that more mature coaches with longer experience of coaching were more likely to focus their coaching on developing athletes’ character. The significance of the proposed work is that the newly developed scale could be considered as a valuable tool for practitioners and researchers to aid in quality coaching and holistic athlete development.