A systematic search and narrative review on coaching behaviours: highlighting alignment and divergence in the field

Lena Sloot, Daniel J. Brown, Juliette Stebbings, Martyn Standage

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Purpose: We aim to provide an overview of the theoretical grounding of studies investigating coaching behaviours, their assessment, how they affect athletes, and distinctions and commonalities among research using different theoretical frameworks.

Background: Coaches can influence athletes significantly with their behaviours, for example by offering them support in performance-oriented environments (e.g., Haugen et al. 2016). Research on coaching behaviour (CB) has used a multitude of theories but, to date, no review exists that includes studies across different frameworks. Such a review is necessary to capture the breadth of approaches used within the literature and may help researchers select the most appropriate framework and methods for future research.

Methods: Seven databases were systematically searched using keywords, for example, “leadership”, “coaching style”, and “motivational climate”. The retrieved articles were screened (by title, abstract, full text) and limited to studies that were peer reviewed and empirical, situated in organised sport, and focused on CBs and outcomes. Findings were summarised, theoretical frameworks and methods extracted, and similarities and differences in descriptions of CBs within and across frameworks were identified using thematic synthesis (Thomas & Harden, 2008).

Results and conclusions: Studies were found to predominately employ five theoretical frameworks (e.g., self-determination theory), and to assess CBs using quantitative methods (80% of studies) and one of over forty different CB questionnaires. Essential CBs were apparent across frameworks including providing choices or encouragement. In conclusion, this review contributes a novel overview of empirical CB research across theories, which can enhance conceptual clarity and guide research investigating CBs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
EventDivision of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference 2022 - Swansea, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Nov 202230 Nov 2022


ConferenceDivision of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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