Examining Coaches’ Instructional Behavior in Response to Challenge and Threat Feedback



Stress, cognitive appraisal, reflection, behavior analysis


This study examined coaches’ behavioral responses to challenge and threat feedback in a pressurized situation. We used a single-case experimental design consistent with the principles of applied behavior analysis and conducted follow-up interviews. The Arizona State University Observation Instrument (ASUOI; Lacy & Darst, 1989) was employed to systematically observe coaches’ instructional behaviors pre- and post- manipulation, which was delivered by random assignment of challenge or threat feedback to 10 novice coaches. A total of 1,084 instructional behaviors were recorded across both conditions. In the challenge condition two coaches exhibited relatively large increases instructional behavior, whilst three coaches showed small decreases. Coaches in the threat condition demonstrated greater within condition variance as two coaches showed relatively large increases in instructional behavior, two coaches showed large decreases, and one coach showed minimal change. Interview data highlighted the mediating roles of coaches’ emotional responses, resource perceptions, and goal orientation in the challenge and threat appraisal process. Implications for practice include the use of reflection to promote coaches’ resource perceptions and facilitate adaptive responses to stress.


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