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Promoting Adolescent health through an intervention aimed at improving the quality of their participation in Physical Activity

Final Report Summary - PAPA (Promoting Adolescent health through an intervention aimed at improving the quality of their participation in Physical Activity)

Executive Summary:


The rise in childhood obesity is a global epidemic with immense consequences for public health (WHO, 2007). One key contributor to the increased prevalence of young people being overweight or obese is insufficient physical activity engagement. Sport may be a tool for the provision of health-enhancing physical activity (White Paper on Sport, 2007) and is recognized to contribute towards the emotional, social and physical well-being experienced by children, adolescents and young adults (Gagne & Blanchard, 2007). However, positive consequences are not automatic by-products of playing sport. Sport participation can also lead to undesirable physical/psychological health-related outcomes, and eventual dropping out of the activity (Duda, 2001). The quality of the sport experience is recognized to be a critical determinant of whether sport engagement leads to positive or undesirable behavioral and health-related outcomes (Duda & Balaguer, 2007).

Over the past two decades, a growing and compelling body of work has emerged that has been grounded in contemporary theories of motivation and holds relevance for how coaches are trained and what should be the content of that training. Drawing from this theoretical and evidential foundation, the Empowering Coaching™ programme was designed to help coaches foster quality motivation and make youth sport more engaging, empowering, and enjoyable. PAPA set out to further develop the Empowering Coaching™ programme for the context of grassroots football in five European countries, and to develop, deliver and apply a multi-method approach to rigorously evaluate this programme. Via the implementation of Empowering Coaching™, PAPA aimed to address the physical and psychological health challenges experienced by many young Europeans.

PAPA involved a pilot phase of workshop development, tutor training and workshop delivery in England followed by a second multi-national pilot phase involving 46 expert coaches, 87 workshops, 846 coaches and potentially impacting 8460 children in five European countries. The workshop and e-learning course was further developed and finalized for delivery in the Main Trial. 7769 players and 699 coaches from five European countries completed baseline measures. 429 children completed baseline fitness and accelerometer assessments. 71 coaches were filmed in action at training/matches at baseline and on two follow up occasions. 521 coaches attended Main Trial workshops, potentially impacting over 5200 children. Second questionnaire data collection (Time 2: End of season) was completed in Norway and initiated in England, Spain, Greece and France.

The PAPA project results have pointed to the applicability of the Empowering Coaching™ programme for coaches working in grassroots sport; the workshop was deliverable with high fidelity and was well received by the coaches themselves. Findings from the multi-method main trial indicate that increases in the degree to which coaches create an empowering climate correspond with decreases in players’ intentions to drop out of sport, with the reverse being the case in relation to changes in disempowering features of the climate. The trial revealed differences in changes during the season in players’ perceptions of disempowering features of the environment and intentions to drop out of their football team. Plans for the launch of the Empowering Coaching™ social enterprise lay the bases for a lasting legacy and further impact of the achievements realized within PAPA.

Project Context and Objectives:


Project Context

The rise in childhood obesity is a global epidemic with immense consequences for public health (WHO, 2007). One key contributor to the increased prevalence of young people being overweight or obese is insufficient levels of physical activity engagement. Physical inactivity is considered one of the main behavioural risk factors for morbidities such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental health disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and certain types of cancer (Hallal, Victora, Acevedo, & Wells, 2006; Strong et al., 2005). Evidence of a positive association between physical activity and mental health has also begun to emerge in young people, although research designs are often weak, and effects tend to be small to moderate (Biddle & Asare, 2011; Whitelaw, Teuton, Swift, & Scobie, 2010).

The generally accepted physical activity recommendation is that all young people should participate in physical activity (PA) of moderate to vigorous intensity for one hour per day (Oja et al., 2010). It is recommended that these activities should be enjoyable and varied. To date, however, the intervention strategies aimed to address the noted alarming trends in public health have centred on: (1) intensive and high cost physical activity trials with primarily small samples of obese youngsters, or (2) efforts to increase PA levels of children and adolescents in school-based intervention programmes, often conducted within or in addition to physical education. Sport may be a tool for the provision of health-enhancing physical activity (White Paper on Sport, 2007) and is recognized to contribute towards the emotional, social and physical well-being experienced by children, adolescents and young adults (Gagne & Blanchard, 2007). However, positive consequences are not automatic by-products of playing sport. Sport participation can also lead to undesirable physical/psychological health-related outcomes, and eventual dropping out of the activity (Duda, 2001).

The quality of the sport experience is recognized to be a critical determinant of whether sport engagement leads to positive or undesirable behavioural and health-related outcomes (Duda & Balaguer, 2007). Over the past two decades, a growing and compelling body of work has emerged that has been grounded in contemporary theories of motivation and holds relevance for how coaches are trained and what should be the content of that training. Drawing from this theoretical and evidential foundation, the Empowering Coaching™ programme was designed to help coaches foster quality motivation and make youth sport more engaging, empowering, and enjoyable.

The programme content is developed from conceptual and empirical links between central facets of achievement goal theory (Nicholls, 1989) and self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) as well as other principles and strategies regarding behavioural change. Studies undertaken in the context of these two theories have repeatedly emphasised specific facets of the motivational climate created by significant others (such as the coach) to be key determinants of motivational processes and the health, well-being and sustained participation among sport performers at all levels. Importantly, research has also revealed psychological need satisfaction to operate as the mechanism by which the motivational climate can impact upon these important consequences among young people (e.g. Reinboth & Duda, 2006). This line of work contributed to programme content and an overall approach to training that integrated precepts and concepts from both AGT and SDT; (i.e. Empowering Coaching™). Further details of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of Empowering Coaching™ can be found in Duda (2013).

The motivational climate is the social context or atmosphere created by a coach that surrounds a group of athletes; what coaches say and how they say it, what they do and how they do it, how they organise their training sessions and how they try to impact their players contributes towards the development of a prevailing motivational climate. Drawing from both AGT and SDT, the climate as conceptualised in Empowering Coaching™ is considered multi-dimensional as it is comprised of features with psychological meaning that are more or less ‘empowering’ and more or less ‘disempowering’ (Duda, 2013).

A plethora of studies have shown that the motivational climate created by the coach is an important determinant of the degree of basic need satisfaction, and in turn, self-determination undergirding sport participation. These are recognised as central determinants of athletes’ cognitive, behavioural and emotional responses both in, and outside of the sport setting (Ryan & Deci, 2007). For example, the motivational climate and associated motivation-related responses have been found to predict indicators of sport participants’ well-being such as vitality (Adie, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2008) self-esteem (Gagne, Ryan, & Bargmann, 2003) and burnout (Lemyre, Treasure, & Roberts, 2006). Sustained engagement in and drop out from physical activities has also been shown to be determined by these social-psychological predictors (Sarrazin, Vallerand, Guillet, Pelletier, & Cury, 2002).

While there is evidence to suggest the motivational climate plays an important part in the promotion of sustained physical activity among European youth, there are some important gaps in in what is known. Firstly, the majority of studies undertaken concerning the motivational climate and the motivation, well-being and physical activity intentions of young Europeans have tended to focus on cross-sectional data, from older adolescents from one country. Secondly, few of these investigations have adopted a multidimensional approach when evaluating the motivational climate operating in this setting. Thirdly, there is a lack of intervention studies in this topic. While there are coach education programmes available that tangentially target the role of the motivational climate, the Empowering Coaching™ education programme is the first theory- and evidence-based coach training course that specifically targets how to create a more adaptive motivational climate in youth sport. Moreover, to date, existing programmes have not been subjected to a rigorous evaluation with regard to impact on the motivational climate and relevant outcomes such as children’s motivation, well-being and intentions to stay physically active.


Project Objectives

PAPA set out to further develop the Empowering Coaching™ programme for the context of grassroots football in five European countries, and to develop, deliver and apply a multi-method approach to rigorously evaluate this programme. Via the implementation of Empowering Coaching™ training, PAPA aimed to address the physical and psychological health challenges experienced by many young Europeans.

The PAPA project set out to address six interdependent scientific objectives (SO). All objectives have now been completed:

• SO1: identify the key components of a EU-centered coach education programme for youth sport drawing from relevant EU and worldwide examples of “good practice”, empirical research, and contemporary theories of motivation, optimal functioning, and health behaviour determinants in children: COMPLETED

• SO2: pulling from the literature and relevant existing “good practice” programmatic efforts, develop a European-centered coach education programme for leisure-time youth sport as a feasible strategy for primary prevention in children and adolescents: COMPLETED

• SO3: examine the feasibility and fidelity of the coach education programme (i.e. the delivery of the Empowering Coaching™ programme): COMPLETED

• SO4: examine the coach education programme’s effectiveness in terms of its impact on the social environment evident in leisure-time youth sport settings and youth sport participants’ motivation to engage in physical activity, mental/emotional well-being and health behaviour patterns via the testing of a theoretically grounded process model across one competitive season in five different countries: COMPLETED

• SO5: disseminate principles of adaptive coaching and project findings to the scientific community, national and international football coaches and association representatives and child health organisations (including targeted dissemination to football coaches and researchers from Eastern Europe): COMPLETED

• SO6: exploit the PAPA findings by targeting politicians, coaches/league officials/representatives of the governing bodies from other sports, and other policy makers involved with youth sporting activities and/or concerned with children’s health-related issues. Management of the intellectual property stemming from PAPA via the creation of a not-for-profit foundation centered on changing the culture of youth sports throughout Europe: COMPLETED

Project Results:

RESULTS

Results on Participation in Youth Football Across Five European Countries

First, we present results on how frequently football players (aged 10-14 years) from England, France, Greece, Norway and Spain play football and how long they have been involved in football. Simple main effects of country (reference group = England), age group (reference group = 10-12 year olds) and gender (reference group = girls) were tested using a linear mixed model taking into account the clustering effect of team. The number of hours playing football with the team at practices or matches differed substantially between the countries (F=103.6 p<.001). At ages 13-14 years, boys played on average 5 or more hours per week, with the exception of England with an average of nearly 3 hours. The average increased over age (b=.20, se=.043, p<.001), and the average among boys was higher than among girls (b=.36, se=.10, p=.001). On average, most boys reported having been with the team for more than 3 seasons in the 10-12 year age group, while girls reported fewer seasons on average.


An Exploration of the Role of the Motivational Climate and Motivational Processes in Youth Sport

Next, we present the consequence of changes in the motivational climate created by the coach upon changes in motivational processes, and player well-being and intention to drop out during the season, among a sample of players from five European countries whose coaches have not received the Empowering Coaching™ intervention (i.e. our control group).

The specific objectives of these analyses were:

1) To examine the characteristics of the European young footballers' perceptions of the motivational climate created by their coaches, of the players' psychological need satisfaction, motivation, goal orientations, well- and ill-being, intention to dropout, self-reported physical activity level and perceived health, and to examine the changes that occur in these variables during the season.

2) To examine how the two higher order dimensions of the perceived motivational climate (i.e. the empowering and disempowering dimensions) relate with: a) the players' psychological need satisfaction, b) motivation, c) goal orientations, d) well-being, e) intention to dropout, f) reported physical activity level and g) perceived health.

3) To test longitudinal process models predicting: well-being and intention to dropout over the course of a football season

a. Longitudinal process models predicting well-being over the course of a season

b. Longitudinal process models predicting dropout over the course of a season

Description of the sample analysed in this section of the report

To achieve the objectives described previously, we used data from the footballers belonging to the control group of the five countries participating in the PAPA project. That is, those football players whose coaches did not attend the Empowering Coaching™ workshops, and therefore were not exposed to the potential effects of the Empowering Coaching™ program. The same data were collected at two points in the season, in the start of the season (T1) and at the end of the season (T2). The total number of children belonging to the control group is 3579. This sample includes children of both the male (89.8%) and female (9.6%) gender who are aged between 9 and 15 years old at T1 (M = 11.58 ± 1.42) and between 9 and 16 years at T2 (M = 11.90 ± 1.45) from 254 teams belonging to 86 different youth football clubs.

To meet the objectives described in this section of the report, we analyse the data longitudinally, i.e. across the season. Therefore, we used data available for participants who responded at both the start of the season (T1) and at the end of the season (T2) to the items tapping the specific variable of interest. Those participants who had only T1 data or only had T2 data for a specific variable were omitted. The number of players that meet this criteria was 1755, however this varied depending on the variable analysed.

Changes in key variables during the football season

Perceptions of the climate at the beginning and end of the football season

For this sample of players from 5 European countries comprising our control group, the general mean scores indicated that, at Time 1, the players perceived that their coaches create environments that are more empowering than disempowering. Specifically, players found that their coaches offer relatively high autonomy support and social support, and that they create a highly task-involving climate. Moreover, the participants perceived their coaches to exhibit a low controlling style, and reported low levels of ego involving coach behaviours.

When comparing the responses of the participants over time, repeated measures t test indicated that the quality of the motivational climate deteriorates throughout the season. The data indicate that the coach-created climate is perceived to be less empowering and more disempowering at T2 than T1. That is, players perceived their coaches to create an environment lower in autonomy support, social support and task-involving features at the end of the season compared to the beginning. At the end of the season the players perceived their coaches to create an environment higher in ego-involving and controlling features than at the onset.

Basic psychological needs satisfaction at the beginning and end of the football season

On average, the players indicated that they experienced relatively high psychological need satisfaction. Specifically, they reported a medium to high level of satisfaction of the need for competence and relatedness, and a medium level of satisfaction of the need for autonomy (the least satisfied of all three). When comparing T1 and T2 mean scores, results indicated that the average satisfaction of the psychological needs is lower at the end of the season, particularly in terms of the players reported that their sense of competence and relatedness had decreased.

Motivation regulations at the beginning and end of the football season

Results indicate that the players’ participation in football is largely regulated by autonomous reasons; they report low levels of controlled motivation and low levels of amotivation. In other words and as also indicated by the self-determination index (a score that can be a calculated to represent the degree of self-determination considering the player’s emphasis on all of the regulation), the players have a relatively high degree of self-determined motivation. However, when comparing the scores between T1 and T2, players reported a decrease in autonomous motivation and an increase in external regulation and amotivation. In other words, football players play for more self-determined reasons at the beginning of the season than at the end of the season.

Goal orientations at the beginning and end of the football season

Mean scores indicated that, at Time 1, the players reported a high task orientation and a medium level of ego orientation. When comparing the responses of the participants over time, repeated measures t test indicated that task orientation and ego orientation decreases and increases, respectively, by the end of the season.

Well- and ill-being at the beginning and end of the football season

The participants reported that they experience high enjoyment when playing football, they feel relatively high in vitality in their general life and they indicated a medium-high level of self-esteem. On the other hand, they reported a medium level of anxiety. When comparing the scores on T1 and T2, in general players reported a decrease in the indicators of well-being but also a decrease in anxiety at the end of the season.

Intention to dropout, physical activity and perceived health at the beginning and end of the football season

Mean scores indicated that the players reported a low intention to dropout, a relatively high physical activity level (i.e. reporting engagement in physical activity between 2 and 6 times a week) and a high perceived health (between good and excellent). At the end of the season, intention to dropout increases, as well as the frequency of physical activity that players report.

Relationships between the motivational climate perceived by the players and key variables at the beginning and end of the season

Next we examined how empowering and disempowering climates created by coaches relate to: a) the players' psychological need satisfaction, b) motivation regulations, c) goal orientations, d) well- and ill-being, and e) intention to dropout, physical activity level and perceived health. To accomplish this goal, we performed bivariate correlations.

The results showed that at both Time 1 and Time 2, a climate perceived as more empowering by the players, was positively related to satisfaction of the three needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. In contrast, these three variables were negatively related to perceptions of a disempowering climate, although in the case of satisfaction of the need for autonomy, the results were only significant at Time 2.

At both Time 1 and Time 2, a perceived empowering climate was positively related to autonomous motivation and negatively related to controlled motivation and amotivation. In contrast, the opposite relationship is evident when the motivational climate is deemed to be disempowering, as this type of climate relates negatively to autonomous motivation and positively with controlled motivation and amotivation.

At Time 1 and Time 2, perceived empowering and disempowering climates were positively and negatively related, respectively, with indicators of experiencing well-being in football and in life in general. In the case of anxiety experienced during football, this indicator of ill-being was positively related to a disempowering climate. However, anxiety was also related to perceptions of an empowering climate at T1 but the association was weak.

Finally, players’ intentions to drop out of football were negatively related to perceptions of an empowering climate and positively related to perceptions of a disempowering climate; physical activity and perceived health were positively related to the players’ perceptions of an empowering climate. In contrast, perceived health was negatively related to perceptions of a disempowering climate, except between T1 and T2 data.

Longitudinal process models predicting well-being and intention to dropout over the course of a football season

In this section, two groups of process models are described which tested longitudinal relationships between targeted variables over the course of a season. In the first model, we examine whether changes in the players’ perceptions of empowering and disempowering features of the climate predict changes in players’ basic needs satisfaction, motivation and indicators of well-being. In this group of models, we examine the role of these predictors in relating to changes in intention to dropout. Models are run between variables at Time 2 while controlling for corresponding Time 1 values (and for countries) and therefore the variables in the model represent change.

In the first group of models, we hypothesized that changes in footballers’ perceptions of the coaches’ motivational climate (empowering and disempowering) will predict changes in the players’ psychological need satisfaction, and that these last changes will predict changes in self-determined motivation, and in turn, variability in their reported self-esteem, subjective vitality and enjoyment.

Results showed that that there was a moderate negative relationship between empowering and disempowering climates, suggesting that these two types of climate are not opposite, and features of both could be present at the same time. Changes in both climates significantly and positively predicted the changes in psychological need satisfaction, however a perceived empowering climate more strongly predicted psychological need satisfaction than perceptions of a disempowering climate. This change in the psychological need satisfaction positively predicted changes in self-determined motivation which, in turn, positively predicted the changes that occurred in the players’ self-esteem, subjective vitality and enjoyment during the season. The variables in the model significantly predicted 35% of the variance in changes in psychological need satisfaction, 28% of the variability in change in self-determined motivation, 21% of the variance in changes in self-esteem, 23% of the variability in change in subjective vitality and 25% of the variability in change in reported enjoyment over the season.

To study intention to dropout in the course of a season, we run several models including different variables of interest as mediators between players’ perceptions of the empowering and disempowering features of the motivational climate and intention to dropout. In the first model, basic psychological needs and self-determined motivation were included. In the second model, mediators were the forms of motivation (autonomous motivation, controlled motivation and amotivation).

As in the previous model, we hypothesized that changes in footballers’ perceptions of the coach-created motivational climate (empowering and disempowering) will predict changes in the players’ psychological needs satisfaction (empowering in positive and disempowering in negative), and in turn will predict changes in self-determined motivation. Finally, it was expected that changes in self-determined motivation would negatively predict changes in the players’ intentions to dropout over the course of the season.

The changes in the psychological need satisfaction predicted positive changes in self-determined motivation that in turn predicted negative changes in intentions to dropout over the course of the season. Results from the proposed model in the case of the model indicate that perceptions of empowering climates significantly predicted 35% of the variance in changes in psychological need satisfaction and perceptions of a disempowering climate predicted 23% of the variance in this variable. The variables in the models accounted for 29% and 28% of the variability in changes in self-determined motivation, and 27% of the variability in changes in reported intention to dropout over the season.

Another purpose of this study was to examine whether changes in footballers’ perceptions of the coaches’ motivational climate (empowering and disempowering) predict changes in the players’ forms of motivation (autonomous motivation, controlled motivation and amotivation) and, in turn, changes in the intention to dropout. A model was tested hypothesizing that the degree to which players perceived the climate to be empowering, would positive predict autonomous motivation and negatively predict controlled motivation and amotivation, whereas the perceptions of a disempowering climate would negatively predict autonomous motivation and positively predict controlled motivation and amotivation. In turn, it was expected that autonomous motivation would negatively predict intention to dropout, whereas controlled motivation and amotivation would positively predict intention to dropout over the course of the season.

Results showed that changes in the players’ perceptions of an empowering climate was a positive and significant predictor of changes in autonomous motivation and a negative and significant predictor of changes in controlled motivation and amotivation. On the other hand, changes in the players’ perception of the coach-created disempowering features of the climate were a positive and significant predictor of autonomous motivation (however this association was very weak), controlled motivation and amotivation. Changes in autonomous motivation significantly and negatively predicted changes in intention to dropout, whereas changes in controlled motivation and amotivation significantly and positively predicted changes in intention to dropout over the course of the season. Results from the proposed model significantly predicted 35% of the variance in changes in autonomous motivation, 29% of the variability in changes in controlled motivation, 25% of the variance in changes in amotivation, and 34% of the variability in changes in intention to dropout over the season.


Coaches’ Self-reported Coach-created Climate

In this section of the report, we first provide some findings as to the characteristics of coaches in our sample. Then we present baseline and follow-up data on coaches’ self-perceptions of the motivational climates they provide for their players. Results are presented summarised across countries and comparisons are made across countries.

Characteristics of the sample

The sample consisted of 612 grassroots football coaches (551 males [94.5%] and 32 females [5.5%]; 29 coaches did not report their gender). They were all coaching at the grassroots level and were recruited from England (n = 119), France (n = 102), Greece (n = 103), Norway (n = 113), and Spain (n = 175). Male coaches (Mage = 34.68 years; SD = 11.24) had, on average, 7.68 (SD = 7.01) years of coaching experience whereas female coaches (Mage = 28.96 years; SD = 9.99) had, on average, 4.56 (SD = 3.54) years of experience as coach. Based on the overall sample, analyses of variance (with follow up Tukey HSD testing) indicated significant differences between the five countries in age of coach. Specifically, Norwegian grassroots coaches (Mage = 41.91 years; SD = 6.28) were older than their Greek (Mage = 36.52 years; SD = 8.53) and French (Mage = 33.68 years; SD = 13.21) counterparts, whereas Spanish grassroots coaches (Mage = 30.46 years; SD = 10.14) were younger than their English (Mage = 39.48 years; SD = 10.08) Greek, and Norwegian counterparts.

Years of coaching. Post hoc analyses (i.e. Tukey HSD) indicated that English grassroots coaches (Myears = 5.82 years of coaching; SD = 4.65) were less experienced than their French counterparts (Myears = 9.23 years of coaching; SD = 9.45). There were no other significant differences between countries in the number of years that the coaches reported that they had been coaching.

Certification for coaching. Approximately a quarter of the grassroots coaches did not have a certification for coaching (i.e. 25.6%) or only a first level certification (i.e. 42.9%).

Coaches’ perceptions of the motivational climate they create

At both time 1 (baseline/early season) and time 2 (follow up/late season), coaches were asked to self-report how they characterized the climate they generated for their players. They were asked to respond to items tapping five dimensions; task-involving, social support, supportive of autonomy (i.e. features of an empowering climate) and ego-involving and controlling coach behaviours (i.e. features of a disempowering climate).

To examine reliability of the climate measure completed by the coaches, Cronbach’s alpha values were computed for each of the five sub-dimensions of the motivational climate and the two general dimensions. Results demonstrated good internal consistency for the empowering and disempowering dimensions as well as for the task- and ego-involving sub-dimensions (all < .7). For the three other sub-dimensions, the reliability was more problematic with alpha values ranging from .47 to .67. Thus, findings related to these subscales should be interpreted with caution.

Overall, at Time 1, grassroots football coaches from all five countries perceived themselves as providing a highly task-involving, autonomy and socially supporting climate. In their own eyes, the coaches perceived the climate they created to be fairly low in controlling and ego involving features.

At Time 1, five analyses of variance revealed significant differences between countries in terms of the motivational climate coaches perceived themselves to provide. Specifically, post hoc analyses (Tukey HSD) indicated that French and Norwegian grassroots football coaches perceived themselves as less task-involving than their Spanish, English and Greek counterparts. French and Spanish coaches perceived themselves to be more controlling than their other European counterparts did. Spanish and Greek coaches appeared to evaluate themselves as more autonomy supporting than their French and Norwegian counterparts. Results also revealed that Norwegian and English coaches appeared to rate themselves as being the most and the least ego involving ones, respectively. Finally, both Spanish and Greek coaches appeared to consider the climate they created to be more socially supporting than their European counterparts did.

Vitality

At both Time 1 and Time 2, coaches were also asked to self-report on sense of vitality referring to their daily life in general as well as when coaching their team. Cronbach’s alpha values were computed and results demonstrated good internal consistency for the subjective vitality scale at both times (i.e. .93 and .92 at T1 and T2, respectively). Overall, grassroots football coaches perceived themselves to have a high level of subjective vitality at both times (M = 5.06 SD = 1.17 at T1 and T2). At Time 1, an analysis of variance indicated that Spanish coaches perceived the highest level of subjective vitality (m = 5.63) whereas Norwegian coaches reported a moderate sense of vitality (m = 3.81) which was significantly different to the vitality experienced by Spanish coaches.


Intervention Effects on Players: Comparing the Intervention and the Control Groups on all Variables of Interest

The purpose of this section of the report is to examine the impact of the Empowering Coaching™ workshop intervention upon the climate perceived by players, and the targeted outcome variables central to the project.

Specifically, our objectives were to:

1. Examine whether arm (i.e. intervention/control) significantly predicted changes in the players’ perceptions of the degree to which the climate created by the coach was empowering

2. Examine whether there were any statistically significant differences between intervention and control arm coaches in changes in the degree to which the players perceived their coaches to create disempowering environments between the beginning and end of the season

3. Examine differences between intervention and control arm coaches in changes in pertinant outcome variables, including the players’ basic psychological need satisfaction, motivation regulations, and indicies of well-being

4. To examine whether there were differences between the two conditions in changes in players’ intentions to continue playing football or to drop out.

Findings

First, we examined whether condition significantly predicted changes in the players’ perceptions of the degree to which the climate created by the coach was empowering. Analysis was completed using multilevel modeling. To examine change, the T1 measure of each variable was controlled in the models, and condition (intervention or control) was examined as the predictor of the targeted T2 variable.

Our hypothesis was that there would be differences in the degree of and direction of change in perceptions of an empowering and disempowering climate, predicted by condition. We expected the results to reflect the finding that the coaches in the intervention arm would be perceived by players to become more empowering during the season, and/or that the rate of change in behaviour would differ between the two arms.

Results showed that the coaches in the intervention and control arms were perceived to be very empowering at T1. In both conditions, the coaches were perceived to become marginally less empowering during the season, and this rate of change to be steeper in the control arm. However, these findings were not significant. There was no statistically significant difference in changes in the perceptions of the coaches’ empowering behaviours between those coaches in the intervention and control arms.

Next we examined whether condition significantly predicted differences in the changes in the degree to which the players perceived their coaches to create disempowering environments during the football season. We hypothesised that the climate created by the coach in each team would be perceived to become less disempowering during the season by players in the intervention arm than the control arm. Results indicated that, in the perceptions of the players, the coaches created moderately disempowering climates at the beginning of the football season (T1). As is often the case in sport environments, the quality of the environment deteriorated during the football season. However, it was noteworthy that the deterioration in the quality of the climate was more pronounced in the control arm than the intervention arm and this finding was statistically significant. That is, coaches who had not attended the intervention became more disempowering, whereas those who had attended the training on the whole, did not. This suggests that the Empowering Coaching™ intervention may buffer the negative changes in coaches behaviour that is typical in grassroots sport.

A series of equations were run in which we examined whether condition significantly predicted changes in players’ basic need satisfaction, motivation and indices of well-being and ill-being during the season. No significant differences were discernible between the two groups.

Finally, we examined whether there were differences predicted by condition in players’ intentions to continue playing football or to drop out. Results of the multilevel modeling analyses revealed significant differences in the changes in the players’ dropout intentions between those in the intervention and control arms. Specifically, those players in the control arm had a greater increase in the strength of their intentions to drop out, than those players in the intervention arm.

Further models were tested in which we included interaction terms between condition and other relevant variables, including the number of years the coaches had been with the team, the number of years they had coached, and the countries in the project. In summary, these findings revealed little impact of these variables on the aforementioned results. However, there was a consistent finding of a significant interaction with France, indicating that the results presented were more pronounced among the French players.


Impact of Intervention on Coaches’ Self-reported Coach-created Climate

In this section of the report, preliminary results on the effect of the intervention on coaches’ self-perception of the empowering versus disempowering climate they provide for their players are presented. Before examining the effect of the intervention on coaches’ self-perception of the motivational climate they provided for their players, we tested different measurement models in order to tease out which model was reasonably consistent with the data collected (i.e. items that best represented the empowering vs. disempowering climate). To this end, univariate and multivariate outliers were excluded from the analyses and only the complete observations at both times were used in the confirmatory factor analyses (CFA; 422 coaches: 267 vs. 155 in the intervention vs. control groups).

In the following analyses, only coaches who attended the two parts of the Empowering Coaching™ workshop training (i.e. N = 245) and those who were randomly assigned to the control condition (i.e. N = 155) were considered. Then, two-way mixed ANOVAs were performed with country (i.e. England, France, Greece, Norway, and Spain) and condition (i.e. intervention vs. control) as independent variables and coaches’ perceptions of the motivational climate at both times as the dependent variable. Results indicated a significant Condition x Disempowering Climate interaction, F(1, 390) = 13.05 p < .001, η² = .03. An ANOVA with repeated measures indicated that coaches who had attended the Empowering Coaching™ workshop viewed the climate that they created as less disempowering over the course of the season.


Evaluation of the Workshop by Participating Coaches

Data from 428 coaches who participated in the PAPA main trial Empowering Coaching™ workshops are summarised in this section. Specifically, these coaches completed a short evaluation form at the end of the workshop. The questionnaire measured the coaches’ perceptions of the Empowering Coaching™ workshop in terms of applicability, usability, challenges, relevance and feedback on the instructor.

Coaches from all the countries reported a positive experience from the workshop. Most of the items got high scores in every country. On the scale from one to five, all the coaches reported four or five on the item “I enjoyed the workshop”. Feedback from the open-ended questions also shows that the coaches thought that the workshop had been a positive experience. Recurring keywords is “inspiring”, “engaging” and “important”.

The coaches also reported very high scores when it comes to the workshop's methodological approach and the opportunity to exchange experiences with other coaches and instructors. The item “In this workshop, coaches felt free to express their opinions and feelings” that was scored highest across countries. 78 % answered that they strongly agree with this statement. 89% of respondents indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed that the purpose of the workshop was clear for them. 89% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the workbook is a useful tool to help understand and apply the principles of empowering coaching. The evaluation form also examined the coaches’ philosophy about coaching. More than 80% of the coaches agreed or strongly agreed with the item “The workshop challenged my ideas about coaching”. Over 90 % agreed or strongly agreed with the item “The workshop effectively explained how coaches could integrate the principles of empowering coaching into their own coaching”. The reported experience of the workshop suggests that the goal of the workshop has been successful. The coaches also gave high scores on the item “I understand how I could become a more empowering coach” (4.33) and on the item “As a result of this workshop, I would now like to commit to becoming a more empowering coach” (4.40).


Impact of Intervention on Coaching Practice: Findings from a Qualitative Study

In this section of the report, we summarise the key findings of focus groups involving 18 male grassroots football coaches from England (M age 40.50 sd = 10.37 min = 23 years, max = 56 years). These coaches had attended Empowering Coaching™ workshops during the pilot phase of the project. The focus groups raised a number of points with regard to the impact of the workshop upon the content of the coach participants’ self-reflection and of their perceived changes in coaching practice. In this report we will exemplify the key emergent themes with representative quotations.

Experiences from coaching. The coaches described how adopting a more empowering approach to coaching was associated with experiencing more positive emotions and less negative responses. For example, one coach explained that, “When it works, it is a positive for you… and that positivity is reflected and it creates that better environment. If you’re feeling good about how decisions are going and you get positive feedback, your next session will be more positive and it, it just steamrolls it really does, and you can tell the kids are enjoying it” (focus group 1, participant 1).

Confidence. For some of the coaches, the knowledge gained at the workshop ignited a sense of confidence in their abilities to coach more effectively: “being flexible in your drills is really important as well. If you can bend the drill to what they want.. and don’t be afraid to change your drill either, be bold as a coach and just say ‘oh well let’s just try it and see if it works’”. …. And say afterwards … “ we’ll change it next time, any ideas?’, and just get them involved”. (focus group 3, participant 1).

Coaches’ personal values/philosophies. In the interviews, when the coaches gave their opinions on different aspects of and personal beliefs regarding coaching, principles that were aligned with key messages from Empowering Coaching™ tended to be articulated. For example, one coach stated, “Make it fair and equal. Listen to what the kids have got to say, rather than just ‘tell tell tell’... they’ll understand it. One day they might be up, one day they might be down, because you don’t know what’s going on at home. Always listen as much as you speak…kids are very open and honest, they haven’t learnt to keep all their emotions and things in check so you need to take everything that they give you. Sometimes it’s quite a lot” (focus group 5, participant 3).

Seeing players in a new light. The coaches expressed that since attending the workshop, their perspectives of their own players had changed. For example, the coaches described using their new knowledge about the nature of quality of motivation to better understand the responses of their players. One coach stated, “There were examples in the book [workbook provided to coaches during the workshop]. And there were ones about motivation, players who were down on confidence, and you go ‘actually, maybe that’s why he’s like that’…because of this… and you can see little bits in there and think ‘actually, he fits that picture. Maybe that’s something we need to look at handling slightly differently’” (focus group 5, participant 4).

Self-reflection. Although they did not necessarily overtly recognize it as such, many of the coaches indicated they engaged in what we might term reflective practice. In doing so, the coaches recognized their previously disempowering approaches to coaching and identified what they might need to rectify to be more empowering: “When you think about it, you think ‘Did I say a lot of unnecessary things before? Was I just talking too much?’, because sometimes you could find yourself saying something just for the sake of it and there is no real reason to why you said that… you go back and think….I could have just kept my mouth shut and let them do it. Now I’ve given them a little bit more ownership” (focus group 1, participant 4).

Planning resources. The coaches described a process of active planning to support their implementation of the principles of Empowering Coaching™. The coaches also referred to organizing meetings with other coaches in the club as part of a plan to be more empowering “We have coaches meetings; we sit, we talk. So if something is happening in a team, ‘I need help with this have you been through it?’, ‘Yeah I have – this is what I did, this is how I got out of it.” (focus group 5, participant 5).

Terminology. The coaches explained how their terminology had changed since the workshop. For example, one coach said, “after the game… instead of ‘who won?’ I asked them ‘how did you do?’ I got a very different response” (focus group 3, participant 2).

Attempted implementation strategies. The coaches discussed their examples of attempting to be more empowering in their coaching since the workshop. For example, one coach said, “what we did was I got all the kids together and I wrote down and said …what do you think we should do with good behaviour and bad behaviour and we wrote a list on a big pad of paper. And what you want from us as coaches and we said what we wanted from them. ….. they felt that they were making up those rules and some of the quieter kids really got involved with that particular bit and it wasn’t about coaching but it was about setting the rules for their team and they, yeah, they enjoyed it being theirs” (focus group 1, participant 1).

Potential Impact:

IMPACT, DISSEMINATION AND EXPLOITATION

The PAPA project has led to the development of a proposed business plan and is setting the stage for the launch of a European-wide social enterprise, Empowering Coaching™. This small to medium enterprise (SME) will be housed at the University of Birmingham and have satellite arms in the PAPA countries. The enterprise will allow for an optimisation of the background IP and will allow maximal use of the educational materials (PowerPoint slides, video clips, workbook, educational games, websites, etc) developed during PAPA in the five languages represented in the consortium.

The potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far) and the main dissemination activities and exploitation of results

Dissemination

Dissemination has been a central feature of the PAPA project and the project has delivered presentations, reports, publications, and web activities to multiple audiences and stakeholders. A summary of our major dissemination activities avenues is presented here, and full details are provided subsequently.

Academic Conferences

Results from the project have been presented at 51 conferences (e.g. 27th Annual Conference of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. Atlanta, USA. 3-6 October 2012; 18th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science. Barcelona, Spain. 26-29 June 2013), in 17 countries (e.g. Belgium, China). Overall, there have been 10 keynotes (e.g. Joan Duda: Toward more Empowering Coaching™ Programme background and its implications for greater health and well-being in youth sport; Eleanor Quested: The importance of the motivational climate in football; Philippe Sarrazin: Comment améliorer l'expérience sportive et le bien-être des jeunes footballeurs? Le projet européen PAPA), 9 symposiums (e.g. FEPSAC 2011: The European-centred PAPA (Promoting Adolescent Physical Activity) Project: aims, initial findings and emerging measurement-related advancements; AASP 2012: There is nothing as practical as a good theory: A review of the EU-wide PAPA Project), 85 oral presentations (e.g. Nathan Smith: The relationship between the objectively rated coach-created motivational climate, and athletes’ basic psychological needs and sport enjoyment; Isabel Balaguer: The relationship of motivational processes to the well-being and health-related behaviours of young athletes) and 13 poster presentations (e.g. Aurélie Van Hoye: Coaches health promotion perceptions in sport clubs: what is done, what is expected and how it impacts their motivation).

Peer-reviewed Publications

Results have been written up and are in preparation for publication in a range of academic journals. The project has been featured in a special edition of the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. This special edition published in November 2013, included 9 papers on the PAPA project, including the publication of an introduction to the overall project/special issue, the project protocol, a conceptual/review paper on the theoretical background to and evolution of the Empowering Coaching™ programme, and 6 empirical papers.

Non-academic Publications

Details on the PAPA Project and the Empowering Coaching™ training programme have been published in practitioner-centred publications (e.g. Empowering Coaching: The future of dance education?” in the Dance UK News, Issue 80 (Spring 2011); Empowering Coaching™: A critical contributor to the future of coach education in hockey” in PUSH, 2012, 40, p 41 – 42; For the love of dance in Arts Professional, Feb 2013] and publications targeted at policy makers (EU Public Health Review, March 2012).

Presentations to Sport, Health and Child Welfare Policy Influencers

The PAPA project findings have been disseminated to a range of relevant organisations within every country in the consortium. Impact has been evidenced via numerous communications to key stakeholders on the scientific bases and features of the Empowering Coaching™ programmes [e.g. in the UK alone: presentations have been made to Welsh Hockey, English Hockey, England Athletics, British Gymnastics, England Cricket, Netball, Handball, Judo, Golf, British Cycling, The Football Association (FA), English Federation of Disability Sport, Battleback Disability sports organization, COMPASS, Sport Wales, Dance UK].

Internationally to date we have delivered presentations to PE_PAYS and Coach Education Leads from several major sports in Ireland; the Poland Olympic Committee and Sport Medicine Association; Aspire Academy, Qatar; and the Deputy Minister of Health/Sport, Taiwan.

End of Project Conference

The end-of-project conference was a landmark event for the project; an opportunity to celebrate the project achievements and to disseminate these widely among a relevant audience of invited guests. The event was held at the prestigious home of The FA, St George’s Park in England. The event was well attended by representatives from a range of European organisations concerned with youth sport and children’s health from across Europe. Over the course of the day, delegates were given information on PAPA and key findings from the project, that confirm the importance and benefits of Empowering Coaching™ across Europe and beyond. Delegates had the opportunity to interact with project partners, and towards the end of the conference, to question Professor Duda (PAPA Director) about extensions of PAPA/applications of Empowering Coaching™ to other sports and related contexts. Many of the delegates agreed that PAPA was an important research project and saw the potential benefits of Empowering Coaching™ to their own sport/activity. As a result of this conference, a number of the organisations named in this document have subsequently met with project partners in their respective countries to discuss the customisation and application of Empowering Coaching™ to their sport/activity (e.g. Street Games and England Athletes have met with partners from the University of Birmingham).

66 delegates attended this event including representatives from:

• British Cycling (UK)
• Cadbury Athletic (England)
• Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales)
• Catalan Basketball Federation (Spain)
• Dublin City University (Ireland)
• England Athletics (England)
• English Federation of Disability Sport (England)
• FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (Europe)
• French Football Federation (France)
• Futsal Brasilia / Aston Maner Academy (England)
• National Greek Youth Team (Greece)
• NSPCC (UK)
• PGA (England)
• Spanish Tennis Federation (Spain)
• Sport Wales (Wales)
• Sports Coach UK (UK)
• Street Games (England)
• The Directorate of Health (Norway)
• The Football Association (England)
• The Football Association of Norway (Norway)
• The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (Norway)
• Valencia CF Foundation (Spain)
• Welsh Football Trust (Wales)
• Welsh Sports Association (Wales)
• World Village of Women Sport / Malmo University (Sweden)

Dissemination Event in Poland

The purpose of this activity was to share the key finding (and their implications for practice) from PAPA to coaches and association representatives, child health organisations and the scientific community from an Eastern European country. The country targeted was Poland and the event held in Warsaw included 3 main activities. Activity one was a seminar focused upon disseminating information about the PAPA project and associated results. Activity two involved the delivery of a “taster” version of the Empowering Coaching™ workshop to the event delegates by members of Partner 1. Delegates attended a short (1.5 hours) version of the workshop in which they were introduced to some of the key theoretical principles and activities that are part of Empowering Coaching™. This activity allowed the delegates to gain an understanding about what is included in the Empowering Coaching™ workshop and why it is relevant and important to bring to Poland. Delegates had the opportunity to attend a workshop delivered in English by Dr Quested or delivered by Dr Appleton, also in English but with translation in Polish.

Twitter, Facebook and Website

The PAPA project has two associated websites. One is dedicated to the PAPA research project and targets the academic community, policy makers and other stakeholders. This website (www.projectpapa.org) is available in English and features information about the project, videos about the PAPA Project in several languages and project news. The second is specifically designed for the coaches of young sports participants and centres on disseminating information and reinforcing messages from the Empowering Coaching™ programme (www.empoweringcoaching.co.uk). This website is available in the five languages for those countries involved in the project.
In response to changing trends in social media, the PAPA team launched Twitter (@EmpCoaching) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/EmpoweringCoachingTM) pages to facilitate a wider and more interactive style of dissemination. Regarding the Empowering Coaching™ Facebook, 275 people from the sport and academic context like our page, and our publications had considerable reach (e.g. the last publication arrived to 198 persons, and the previous one to 628. Thus, social media has been effectively utilised to extend the outreach regarding the significance and potential application of the Empowering Coaching™ workshops and we will continue to exploit this medium.

Future Impact

Considerable impact has been realised via Programme Delivery of Empowering Coaching™/PE™/Dance™ workshops. Related to the goals of the PAPA project specifically, 46 tutors were trained up to deliver the Empowering Coaching™ programme. One hundred and fifty workshops were delivered to 1367 grassroots football coaches in the pilot phase and main trial across the 5 countries involved with a potential impact on over 13,000 children. The Empowering Coaching™ workshop has also been delivered to national youth development coaches representing UK Athletics.

An Empowering PE™ workshop was delivered to 30 Welsh physical education teachers in June 2012, 5 Empowering Dance™ workshops have been delivered to 45 staff members from two major vocation dance schools in the UK (i.e. the Royal Ballet School, Nov 2012; Elmhurst School of Dance, Nov 2012 - Jan 2013), to 27 of the top Artistic Directors and choreographers associated with professional dance companies from around the world (DanceEast Rural Retreat , Jan 2013), and to 65 professional dancers from the English National Ballet.

The evolving wide-spread dissemination of related research and the exploitation of the Empowering Coaching™ programmes are contributing to documented change to professional training. For example, we are in negotiations with several sports organisations regarding the establishment of this education programme within their education structures. The 2 year contracted work with Sport Wales (commenced May 2013) entails the development of a tailored adaptation of the existing Empowering PE™ programme specifically for secondary education physical education teachers in Wales and up-skilling of over 50 secondary school teachers in a pilot offering of the training programme. The programme will be further revised based on the pilot work and 4 tutors will be trained to be able to deliver the programme to additional secondary school physical education teachers in the post-project roll out and become a part of teacher CPD. A collaborative relationship with Dance UK has been developed for further dissemination of the workshop as a CPD for dance instructors. Two Dance UK staff members have been trained up to deliver the Empowering Dance™ workshop and these workshops will commence this year. In Spain, Valencia Club de Fútbol is interested in receiving the Empowering Coaching™ workshops to train their grassroots football coaches. Materials of the Empowering Coaching™ workshop are being adapted by Birmingham and Valencia to the tennis context, in order to begin to collaborate with some tennis associations interested in our training program and the philosophy behind the project.

The legacy of the PAPA project will be realised via the establishment of the Empowering Coaching™ Social Enterprise, an EU-wide not-for-profit SME to be housed at the University of Birmingham (England) and with satellites in the PAPA partner countries. This enterprise will set the stage for the on-going development and delivery of the Empowering Coaching™ programme within Europe and around the world.


List of Websites:
Web address: www.projectpapa.org

Email contact: info@projectpapa.org

Director: Professor Joan Duda, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT, j.l.duda@bham.ac.uk