Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #357
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis and Sports: Coaching Interactions
Sunday, May 24, 2020
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty N-P
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Dennis Uriarte (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Dennis Uriarte, M.S.

Coaching is a term that is used frequently in both behavioral and non-behavioral literature, yet it often is used with a lack of clarity in terms of the form and function of the interactions. The studies in this symposium offer three unique ideas on how to improve coaching interactions and the effects that they can have on athletes and coaches alike. All three studies had coaches implementing the intervention. The first two studies focus on the increase in athlete performance in lacrosse and mixed martial arts (MMA), respectively. The first study evaluated the use of negative reinforcement on an athlete's running behavior and the second study evaluated the use of coaching questions feedback to increase correct foot pivots in fighters. The third study, softball, also implemented feedback; however, instead evaluated the usage of video-based feedback and self-monitoring to improve the coaching interactions themselves. All three studies hint at possible new interventions to improve performance in the sports realm.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): coaching, feedback, sports
Target Audience:

This symposium is targeted towards behavior analysts with an interest in coaching interactions

The Use of Negative Reinforcement to Increase Running Behavior in Collegiate Athletes
JESSE DEPAOLO (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Although athletes are often expected to engage in physical activity outside of team settings (practices, games, lift sessions, etc.), it is not common practice for coaches to track such behavior(s). For this study, an ABAB reversal design was conducted, to examine the use of a negative reinforcement contingency on increasing collegiate athlete’s out of practice running. This study was conducted with collegiate women’s lacrosse players at a Division 2 university. On the first day of the team’s season, prior to the onset of this study, coaches instructed athletes to run a set number of miles per week outside of practice. During baseline, athletes sent proof of the miles they ran to their coach. During intervention, athletes continued to send proof to their coaches and the negative reinforcement contingency was introduced. If all members of the team completed the set number of miles, the team’s end of the week fitness drill was removed. In baseline, approximately 75% of players completed their required running. During the negative reinforcement condition, approximately 95%. This indicates that negative reinforcement may be a viable intervention to improve athletic compliance for physical activity outside of practice.

The Effects of Feedback Statements Versus Coaching Questions on Athlete Performance

cledia caberlon (Florida Institute of Technology), Nicholas Weatherly (Florida Institute of Technology), Curtis Phillabaum (Florida Institute of Technology), Kayce Nagel (Florida Institute of Technology), VINCE ALEXANDER BELLO (Florida Institute of Technology)

Coaching is a term used frequently in behavioral and non-behavioral literature, yet often with a lack of clarity on form and function. One component of coaching is feedback, which is the most common intervention in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) and has shown to be an effective treatment when implemented correctly. However, the use of questions rather than statements to improve performance has not yet been evaluated in the coaching system. The current investigation used a coaching system to separately compare the effectiveness of both interactions (feedback statements and coaching questions) to contribute to the coaching literature. Five Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters participated in the study and received coaching questions and feedback statements in a randomized order. An alternating treatments design was used to evaluate the effects of the intervention on athlete performance.


Using Video-Based Feedback and Self-Monitoring to Improve Athletic Coaching Interactions

Kayce Nagel (Florida Institute of Technology), Nicholas Weatherly (Florida Institute of Technology), Curtis Phillabaum (Florida Institute of Technology), Cledia Caberlon (Florida Institute of Technology), LAUREN RIVERA (Florida Institute of Technology), Nelmar Jacinto Cruz (Florida Institute of Technology)

The present study examined if video-based feedback combined with self-monitoring will improve the quality of specific feedback statements delivered by coaches. The study involved four collegiate softball coaches at a southeastern university. The primary dependent variable was the quality of coaching interactions delivered by the coaches as measured by items completed from a checklist of feedback characteristics. The coaching interaction was defined as any feedback statement that is referencing behavior relevant to task performance. The secondary dependent variable was the athlete’s performance. The independent variable was video feedback combined with self-monitoring. The results showed an improvement in all four participant’s coaching interactions. The group mean baseline levels for coaching interaction accuracy were between 39% - 59% which improved to 55% - 72% after treatment was introduced. The coaches individual improvement ranged from 3.5%-15.4%. The current study found that using video-based feedback and self-monitoring was effective in improving coaching interactions.




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