Feedback of information in the empathic accuracy of sport coaches

Ross Lorimer, Sophia Jowett

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Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in the empathic accuracy of sport coaches in relation to feedback of information. Coaches' experience and qualification level were also considered. Method Sixty badminton coaches were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group. All coaches watched a video of an athlete's technical training session with her coach. At designated segments of the video all coaches were asked to make inferences about what the athlete's thoughts and feelings had been. Only the coaches in the experimental group were given corrective feedback on the athlete's thoughts and feelings following their inference. Empathic accuracy was estimated by comparing these inferences with the athlete's own self-reported thoughts and feelings. Results It was shown that both groups' empathic accuracy improved over the course of watching the video; however, the experimental group improved significantly more. It was found that coaches' experience was significantly associated with empathic accuracy for the control group only. Conclusions The results suggest that continued exposure to an athlete increases a coach's empathic accuracy and that this can be significantly improved with accurate feedback about that athlete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • Empathy
  • Understanding
  • Coaching
  • Empathic accuracy
  • Relationship
  • Perception


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