Athletes don’t benefit from relying on a coach for too long

Press release:

BINGHAMTON, NY — Athletes increasingly relying on a coach over the course of a season may be a sign that they aren’t progressing in their development, according to new research from Binghamton University.

On the other hand, inspirational coaches will find that their athletes will become less reliant on them over time.

“Being increasingly needed by your athletes as time goes on is not a good sign,” says Chou-Yu Tsai, assistant professor of management in Binghamton University’s School of Management. “If your athletes no longer need your leadership and guidance as time goes on, that should be seen as a positive sign that you’ve helped them in their development.”

Tsai, who studies leadership in a number of contexts, including athletics, worked with a research team consisting of San-Fu Kao of National Tsing Hua University and Robert Schinke of Laurentian University. They set out to discover how a coach’s leadership style affected athlete evaluations of their competency over time.

The researchers evaluated how nearly 250 Division I collegiate basketball players felt about their coaches at different points over the course of a season. They focused on a coach’s ability to enact transformational leadership, or the ability to develop athletes to their full potential.

“Transformational coaches empower their players in ways beyond just playing a sport. They help players develop meaning and instill pride, and encourage them to go above and beyond for the good of the team,” said Tsai.

They found that coaches who enacted high transformational leadership had a decrease in perceived coaching competency by their athletes over time. In other words, the more a coach inspired a player to achieve their full potential, the less the athlete relied on their coaching.

In contrast, they found that coaches with low transformational leadership skills had an increase in perceived coaching competency by their athletes over the course of the season. This means that players may rely more on their uninspiring coaches over time.

“If you’re not gaining some sort of independence from your coach, you may feel like you need that coach even more,” said Tsai. “This probably isn’t a good sign.”

Tsai said it’s important for coaches to understand how their leadership style interacts with player perceptions of them.

“Coaches may incorrectly think they did something wrong if their athletes aren’t as reliant on them anymore,” said Tsai. “On the contrary, our research indicates that this kind of independence is a sign that you demonstrated good leadership behaviors.”

As for how to become a transformational leader, Tsai recommends that coaches focus on the personal development of their athletes.

“Transformational coaches don’t want athletes to only become better players. They mentor their athletes and help them become better people as well,” said Tsai.


The study, “Investigation of the interaction between coach transformational leadership and coaching competency change over time,” has been published in the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching.

What ever happened to the toning shoes?

Approximately 10 years ago, the toning shoes had been all the craze. They were shoes which were expected to allow you to firm up and obtain an extra workout if using them. Several even stated to condition the “butts” and cure cellulite on the legs. That did not work out too well for the businesses with legal agreements and despite endorsements from celebrities they soon fell off from selling well.

Toning footwear or what is also referred to as unstable footwear are shoes that is intentionally designed with rocker soles as well as other design characteristics to make the footwear unstable in order that the muscles are claimed to work harder to improve stability. It is primarily the higher muscle exercise that was promoted being a greater workout when using the footwear, ie a tone up. After the footwear arrived on the market the health assertions and alleged advantages made for them were rather astounding. A number of celebrities and sports stars were utilized in advertising material to support and advertise the assertions. Sales of this footwear were pretty considerable on the basis of these assertions and claimed health benefits.

When the appropriate research was completed on these shoes, it didn’t support the claims that were being claimed for the benefits of the shoes. The research did demonstrate that muscle activity was greater and the walking was somewhat distinctive while using the footwear, however it wasn’t enough to give all the many benefits that have been claimed for the toning shoes. As these were health promises that were being made which were never backed up by the research this caught the attention of the medical and advertising regulatory agencies in several countries and they became involved in lawsuits. This finished up in substantial multi-million dollar fines and settlements by a few of the shoe companies that were doing the unrealistic health alleged benefits. A number of class action legal cases were furthermore paid out based on claims that those who purchased the shoes just didn’t have the advertised health benefits from them. This drastically impacted sales and interest in this footwear and they more or less faded away.

There are still a few shoes available on the market that would be viewed as toning or unstable footwear and there is still some research going on with them. All of this doesn’t mean that there is actually something inappropriate using these sorts of footwear. The problem was just the substantially embellished assertions made for the shoes and the advertising around those claims. These types of toning shoes can have their uses. Clinicians continue to find these toning footwear to be extremely ideal for modifying the way people walk with conditions like painful knee arthritis plus some individuals with lower back conditions that may be associated with the way that individuals move. The rationale is when walking one way is uncomfortable, then if the subtle modification can be produced in the way they walk with the aid of these shoes, then there could be a reduction in pain. A possible problem with this strategy could be that the studies are unclear on who might and will likely not benefit. They are also especially useful for individuals who have painful arthritis within the big toe or hallux joints.