Organized sports may enhance the social skills and peer relationships of shy children. Interactions with coaches may be critical determinants of these benefits. Thus, our goal was to explore coaches’ beliefs, attitudes, and responses to shy children. Participants were 447 undergraduate students (343 female; Mage = 19.39 years, SD = 2.12) with coaching experience. Participants indicated their anticipated behaviours, emotions, and perceived implications in response to hypothetical children exhibiting shy, unsociable, and verbally exuberant behaviours in a sport context. Coaches viewed shy behaviour more problematically than both verbally exuberant and unsociable behaviours, anticipating the most negative implications for shy children's peer relationships, development, and team performance and supporting the use of differential coaching strategies. However, despite reporting the most worry about shyness, coaches were less likely to intervene in response to shyness compared to exuberance. We discuss the implications that our results may have for the adjustment of shy children.

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Department of Psychology

Kirkpatrick, A. (Alison), Rose-Krasnor, L. (Linda), Ooi, L.L. (Laura L.), & Coplan, R. (2020). Coaching the quiet: Exploring coaches’ beliefs about shy children in a sport context. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 47. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101640