If Success is Satisfaction, What is Satisfaction? Self-Reported Satisfaction of Early Years Strength and Conditioning Coaches in a Formalised Coach Development Programme

Evidence across a number of industries suggests that job satisfaction (JS) can positively influence employee performance and commitment (Abdelmoula & Boudabbous, 2020; Badrianto & Ekhsan, 2020; Platis et al., 2015; Saridakis et al., 2018). However, there is a paucity of evidence identifying the JS of early years strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches and the factors associated to JS. Given the importance of JS on performance and commitment, understanding JS in this demographic may be important in optimising development in the formative years of the coaching journey. Thus, the aim of this study is to provide a retrospective analysis of JS in early years S&C coaches in a formalised coach development programme. It is hoped the finding of this analysis may provide the opportunity for a more targeted and supportive approach to optimising the development of early years S&C coaches.

12 S&C coaches completed the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ). The MSQ is a valid and reliable instrument that measures satisfaction with several specific aspects of work and the work environment (Weiss et al., 1967). The participants had all graduated through a formalised S&C coach development programme. Participants completed the long-form MSQ consisting of 100 items with response alternatives as per the 5-point Likert scale. All participants received instruction on how to complete the MSQ. Respondents were encouraged to answer the questions rapidly as per the MSQ instruction manual (Weiss et al., 1967) and responses were anonymised.

Mean general satisfaction was 88.6 ± 11.8. Referenced against normative data (employed non- disabled) from the manual for MSQ this represented a high degree of JS and a score at the 88th percentile. Items scoring in the 90th percentile or above against the reference population were supervision – technical (Mean 24.1 ± 1.7), supervision – human relations (Mean 24.0 ± 2.2), co-workers (Mean 24.3 ± 1.8), achievement (Mean 23.67 ± 2.2) and responsibility (Mean 22.67 ± 2.5). Apart from compensation (Mean 14.58 ± 5.03), all other items scored an average to high degree of satisfaction.

Practical Applications
These results provide a novel insight into JS in early years S&C coaches in a formalised and full-time coach development programme. Overall, participants reported a high degree of satisfaction with their early years S&C coach development programme. Participants reported high satisfaction with the technical skills and support provided by their supervisor, the interaction with their co-coaches, the feeling of accomplishment from their coaching and having freedom to use their own judgement in their coaching practice. As such, early years development programmes in the field of S&C should ensure high quality supervision is in place to support both S&C and non S&C related practice, develop a sense of community within the coaching group, provide opportunities for successful and independent coaching and ensure compensation is in line with national association guidelines. Such factors may contribute to the satisfaction, commitment and performance of early years S&C coaches in formalised coach development programmes.

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