Examining the impact of physical appearance on impressions of coaching competence

Richard Thelwell, Neil Weston, I. Greenlees, J. Page, A. Manley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to examine the impact of coach physical characteristics (build and clothing) on the impressions formed of them by male and female athletes and non-athletes. A total of ninety seven participants viewed four photographs that depicted different combinations of build and clothing (lean build and sport clothing, lean build and academic clothing, large build and sport clothing, and large build and academic clothing). Having viewed each photograph participant’s were required to rate their perceived competence of the coach. While no differences emerged in the ratings of coach competence based on gender or athletic level, significant differences were found across the photographs. The study supports the contention that initial impressions can influence the judgments made of an individual. Suggestions are also made with reference to alternative forms of stimuli that may contribute to the initial impression of a coach and their subsequent competence and overall effectiveness
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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