According to a new research published by the American Psychological Association, which included data from over 20,000 student athletes at more than 600 colleges across the country, athletes trained under abusive coaches are more willing to cheat to win.
Men’s teams were more inclined to cheat than women’s teams, and men’s football, basketball and baseball teams reported the highest willingness to cheat at large universities in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where players are often under intense pressure to win.
Even though the exact reason was not found, it was clear from the observation that both men’s and women’s basketball teams were much more likely to report they had abusive coaches than any other sport.
The survey included 19,920 athletes (40 per cent women) from 609 colleges, representing 11 men’s and 13 women’s sports sanctioned by the NCAA. The research, based on a detailed analysis of the survey results, was published in the APA journal Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.
“Ethical behavior of coaches is always in the spotlight,” said lead researcher Mariya Yukhymenko, from University of Illinois at Chicago. "Our study found several negative effects related to abusive coaches, including a willingness by players to cheat to win games."
Dealing with abusive coaches has become a growing concern, especially at the professional level.
“Coaches are role models for their athletes,” the author further added. “The way they behave is observed by student athletes and is often repeated.”
Athletes guided by an ethical coach showed more honesty and integrity in the field. They also tend to be happier when compared to their contemporaries who work with an abusive trainer.
A good coach not only shapes up his students’ future but also leaves a great impact on future generation, therefore, more efforts are required to make sure that the athletes are also getting proper moral support from the trainer, the study suggested.