Journal of
Physical Education and Sport Management

  • Abbreviation: J. Phys. Educ. Sport Manag.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6486
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPESM
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 73

Full Length Research Paper

Quantitative assessment of facilitators and barriers to using external coaches in school-based extracurricular sports activities

Kenryu Aoyagi
  • Kenryu Aoyagi
  • Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, 2-579-15 Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1192, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Kaori Ishii
  • Kaori Ishii
  • Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, 2-579-15 Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1192, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Ai Shibata
  • Ai Shibata
  • Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8574, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Hirokazu Arai
  • Hirokazu Arai
  • Faculty of Letters, Hosei University, 2-17-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-8160, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Koichiro Oka
  • Koichiro Oka
  • Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, 2-579-15 Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1192, Japan.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 03 April 2014
  •  Accepted: 23 September 2014
  •  Published: 30 September 2014

 ABSTRACT

School-based extracurricular sports activities contribute to positive youths’ development. However, they are difficult to manage without the use of external coaches. The number of external coaches available and in use is currently insufficient, indicating that further recruitment is essential. The present study examined facilitators and barriers to the use of external coaches in school-based extracurricular sports activities, and whether any differences exist in the importance of these factors between teachers who do and do not use external coaches. A cross-sectional self-administrated questionnaire was provided to 1,880 teachers and the percentage agreement with each facilitator and barrier as applicable to their decision to use an external coach was determined. Data were received from 253 teachers. For 39/50 facilitators and 17/45 barriers, more than 50% of teachers considered the items to be applicable. There were 17 facilitators that had a significantly high rate of response in teachers who currently use an external coach. Teachers who do not use external coaches were significantly more likely to report barriers to be applicable than their counterparts that do use external coaches for 27/45 of the items. Revising recruitment strategies to reflect these important influencing factors would be an effective way to promote further recruitment of external coaches.

 

Key words: Extracurricular activities, human resource management, mixed methods approach, physical education, volunteer.


 INTRODUCTION

Many sports activities are performed on school fields after classes finish for the day (Sport Council Wales, 2009; Edwards et al., 2011; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Engaging in these school-based extracurricular sports activities(SBECSA) helps students to improve their physical, mental, academic, and social development (Fredricks and Eccles, 2006; Barnett, 2007; Dotterer et al., 2007; Lipscomb, 2007; Shernoff and Vandell, 2007; Schaefer et al., 2011; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan [MEXT], 2012). Considering these benefits, SBECSA should be actively encouraged for positive youth development. However, there are several difficulties faced in terms of coaching and management of these programs such as lack of teachers who can coach SBECSA expertly (Yamagata Prefecture Board of Education, 2010), the transfer of SBECSA teachers to other schools causing elimination of the SBECSA (Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, 2007), and considerable workload burden for teachers to manage the SBECSA (MEXT, 1997; Japan Senior High School Teachers and Staff Union, 2008; Whiteley and Richard, 2012). Thus, managing SBECSA using teachers as the primary coaching resource provides challenges to the current maintenance of these programs.

As a way to resolve the issues related to a lack of suitable in-school coaches, the use of external coaches (outsourcing of human resources) has been promoted (MEXT, 2013). An external coach is defined as a person who coaches a school-based extracurricular activity—not physical education in the regular school curriculum—as a substitute or support for a teacher. They are sometimes expert coaches living in the neighborhood, a graduate of the school, or a parent of the students (Sasakawa Sports Foundation [SSF], 2011). Benefits of using external coaches include an increase in student interest/ participation and improvement in the coaching skills of teachers managing SBECSA (Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, 2008), which indicates that external coaches are valuable to SBECSA. However, difficulties in hiring external coaches (Miyagi Prefecture Board of Education, 2008; Yamagata Prefecture Board of Education, 2010; Williams et al., 2011) and the lack of external coaches in some regions and for certain types of sport have been reported (Nishijima et al., 2007; Nippon Junior High School Physical Culture Association, 2013). Therefore, promoting recruitment of external coaches is strongly needed. To increase recruitment of external coaches, it is important to develop effective recruitment promotion strategies.

Previous surveys and studies have attempted to clarify the facilitators and barriers to effectively recruiting and using external coaches (Kanagawa Prefecture Board of Education, 2008; Miyagi Prefecture Board of Education, 2008; LaVoi and Dutove, 2012). However, most of them were conducted with a limited number of questions and limited sample groups; thus, the facilitators and barriers in the recruitment of external coaches may be only partially explained.

Using semi-structured interviews, Aoyagi et al. (2013a) qualitatively identified categories of facilitators and barriers to the use of external coaches, which included support from the school, positive (or negative) relationship with the external coach, and inadequate mediation systems;  however,  the  extent to  which  each facilitator and  barrier  influenced  recruitment of external coaches was not discussed. Describing these facilitators and barriers with a quantitative method such as the mixed methods approach previously conceptualized by Creswell (2014) is important to determine an effective strategy that a large population of teachers could adopt. Additionally, it is unclear whether SBECSA teachers using external coaches would perceive more facilitators and fewer barriers than those not currently using external coaches. Given the theory about balancing the tradeoffs of benefits and barriers before taking a given action (Prochaska and DiClemente, 1983; Marcus and Owen, 1992; Ling and Horwath, 2001), it is hypothesized that SBECSA teachers who use external coaches perceive more facilitators and fewer barriers than those who do not. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to examine the importance of the facilitators and barriers to the use of external coaches in SBECSA as determined in a previous qualitative study (Aoyagi et al., 2013a), and determine whether a difference exists between SBECSA teachers who do and do not use external coaches.


 METHODS

Study participants

A total of 1,880 teachers who worked at a public junior high or high school were given a cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire. Two hundred and fifty three teachers responded to the survey (response rate: 13.5%) and were included in the study analyses. Detailed participant characteristics are shown in Table 1. The number of teachers who worked at junior high schools and high schools were 107 (42.3%) and 142 (56.1%), respectively. There were 71 physical education teachers (28.1%). Sixty-five teachers (25.7%) managed SBECSA using external coaches and 163 teachers (64.4%) managed SBECSA without the use of external coaches.

Stratified random sampling was used for recruitment in the present study. One hundred and eighty-eight schools (94 junior high schools and 94 high schools) were selected from all 47 prefectures in Japan. Two junior high schools and two high schools were selected from each prefecture. Unified junior high schools and high schools, evening schools, and branch schools were excluded before the random sampling because they are minorities in the school system and may have biased the results. To avoid sampling bias such as only physical education teachers answering the questionnaire, 10 teachers were invited from each school.

 

 

 

 

Questionnaire

The questionnaire contained 50 items assessing perceived facilitators and 45 items assessing perceived barriers to using external coaches in SBECSA. The items covered all facilitators and barriers revealed in a previous study that were considered representative of the target population based on exploratory qualitative analysis (Aoyagi et al., 2013a). Therefore, the questionnaire was considered to have high content validity (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2007). Participants were asked, “How do you perceive each item as facilitator (or barrier) to the use of external coaches?” Responses were set on a six-point scale ranging from “not applicable at all (0)” to “very applicable (5)”. Each participant was also asked to complete a series of sociodemographic questions about their gender, age, type of school (junior high school or high school), and teaching subject. Whether or not they manage any SBECSA and make use of external coaches was also asked.

Data collection procedures

Request letters for participation in the study along with a set of questionnaires (including instructions and a consent form) were first sent to the principals of the schools that had been randomly selected. The principals then distributed the questionnaire to teachers in the school. Finally, each teacher completed the self-administrated questionnaire and returned it to the researchers. The survey was conducted in 2012. Participants were informed of the purpose and design of the study, and all participants provided written informed consent. The research proposal was approved by the Ethics Board of Waseda University (No. 2011-241).

Analyses

To estimate the importance of each facilitator and barrier, percentages of applicability were calculated. Responses of 0–2 were defined as inapplicable answers and 3–5 were considered applicable. Percentages of applicability among SBECSA teachers who do and do not use external coaches were calculated separately.  Chi-square tests (α = 0.05)  were  conducted  to  verify differences between the two groups for each facilitator and barrier. Any missing values were excluded. All analyses were conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics Version 21.


 RESULTS

Of the 50 facilitators, more than half (50%) of the teachers indicated that 39 items were applicable (Table 2). Facilitators that over 90% of teachers reported to be applicable were: f1. improving technique of team members (96.0%); f6. desire to let team members become more skillful (92.8%); f10. providing stimulation for team members (91.5%); f15. growing in practice efficiency (95.2%); f16. having a diverse coaching method (93.6%); f17. being able to show examples of play (92.7%); f18. increasing practice method (90.2%); f34. inability of SBECSA teacher to coach technically (96.0%); and f38. having other viewpoints (91.6%). In terms of the system in place for recruitment of external coaches, more than half of teachers considered compensation and mediation systems as facilitators.

 

 

 

 

 

There were 17 items that had a significantly higher rate of response from SBECSA   teachers   who   use external coaches than those who do not. Six of these—f8. Increasing motivation of team members (96.9%; p = 0.009), f13. conveying enthusiasm about the sport (95.4%; p = 0.009), f15. growing in practice efficiency (100.0%; p = 0.036), f26. having cogency (92.3%; p < 0.001), f28. reduced burden on SBECSA teacher (90.8%; p = 0.013), and f50. positive attitude of school regarding engagement of external coach (92.3%; p < 0.001)—showed over 90% applicability.

With respect to barriers, 17/45 items were considered applicable by 50% or more of teachers (Table 3). Barriers that more than 60% of teachers perceived to be applicable were: b8. lack of knowledge about team member’s life in school (67.1%); b14. conflicting opinions with external coach (73.9%); b29. difficulty canceling the engagement of external coach once engaged in SBECSA (81.1%); b31. unclear system of introduction of external coaches (73.3%); and b41. difficulty finding external coaches (65.1%). Additionally, one third to over 80% of teachers regarded issues such as a rudimentary system, lack of compensation, limitations of the system, lack of cognition about the system, and difficulty finding external coaches as barriers related with the system.

SBECSA teachers who do not currently use external coaches were significantly more likely to report barriers to be applicable than their counterparts for 27/45 items. Eight of these items—b2. having trouble with parents (63.8%; p = 0.001), b3. development of a complex human relationship (62.7%; p < 0.001), b5. mismatch of SBECSA teacher and external coach (70.6%; p < 0.001), b6. external coach who cannot give pupils guidance (65.8%; p < 0.001), b8. lack of knowledge about team members’ lives in school (76.9%; p < 0.001), b14. conflicting opinions with external coach (85.0%; p < 0.001), b18. attentiveness to external coach (66.0%; p < 0.001), and b29. difficulty canceling the engagement of external coach  once  engaged in  SBECSA  (86.3%; p  = 0.002)—were perceived to be applicable by more than 60% of participants not currently using an external coach.

 

 

 


 DISCUSSION

To explain the importance of facilitators and barriers in the use of external coaches in SBECSA and clarify whether differences existed in the perception of these items between SBECSA teachers who used external coaches or those that did not, a cross-sectional self-administrated questionnaire survey was given to junior high school and high school teachers across Japan. Nine facilitators perceived as applicable by over 90% of teachers could be categorized into general groups related to “growth of team members”, “inspiring morale of team members”, “improvement of practice quality”, “lack of teachers who can technically coach”, and “coaching from various perspectives”.

Considering these facilitators more fully, a lack of expertise would encourage an SBECSA teacher to recruit an external coach to gain various coaching perspectives and  improve  practice  quality  for  the  growth  of  team members, including morale. More than half of teachers also perceived compensation and mediation systems as facilitators to the recruitment of external coaches. Thus, state and local governments should improve and promote compensation support projects and human resource mediation systems that are currently in use in other areas of Japan (e.g. SSF, 2011; Kochi Prefecture Board of Education, 2013; Okayama Prefecture Board of Education, 2013) to promote increased use of external coaches. More SBECSA teachers who use external coaches, compared with those that do not, felt that understanding from their school was an important facilitator in their use of an external coach. It is not only the efforts of the  SBECSA  teacher but also support from the school principal and other teachers that are important in promoting recruitment of external coaches.

In terms of the overall perception of barriers by participants, the following explanations could be considered. First, it is difficult to find external coaches. Even if there is mediation system, difficulties in getting introduced to external coaches and in cancelling the engagement of external coaches might make teachers hesitate to go through the process. Further possible reasons contributing to this hesitation is that external coaches do not usually know much about team members’ lives in school, and they sometimes have conflicting opinions with SBECSA teachers. A previous report from a human resource organization indicated similar findings that a lack of transparency in the mediation system disrupted use of this system (Kanagawa Prefectural Center of Physical Education, 2007). Therefore, clear information on the processes involved is required for human resource organizations to properly manage mediation systems. Aoyagi et al. (2013b) suggested that implementing a trial period would be beneficial to identify the compatibility of an external coach with the SBECSA teacher and the team members (e.g. in terms of coaching principles, coaching method, and relationships). Given that SBECSA is activity organized through the school (MEXT, 2008, 2009), the guiding (coaching) principles of the SBECSA teacher should be at the core of the activity, with frequent communication between the SBECSA teacher and any external coach brought in.

SBECSA teachers who do not use an external coach were more likely to perceive poor relationships with external coaches and their potential disregard of educational aspects as barriers. Additionally, conflicting opinions with the external coach and difficulty in cancelling the engagement of an external coach once engaged in SBECSA were similarly considered barriers for them. To resolve these issues, it is necessary for SBECSA teachers to conduct sufficient interviews before recruiting an external coach and to ensure frequent communication after recruitment of external coaches.

As hypothesized, SBECSA teachers who currently  use external coaches found facilitators to be more important factors than barriers when it comes to recruiting external coaches. By contrast, SBECSA  teachers who do not use external coaches found several barriers to be the most important factors in terms of considering recruitment of an external coach. According to the theory of decisional balance, people who are currently acting out certain behaviors recognize facilitators (benefits/pros) more, while those who have not yet performed the behavior see barriers (burdens/cons) more (Marcus and Owen, 1992; Ling and Horwath, 2001). The results of the present study are thus consistent with the theory of decisional balance. Although there is a possibility of a ceiling effect with respect to many of the items in the questionnaire, from the perspective of this theory, enhancing the facilitators and reducing the barriers that were shown to have significant differences in perception between groups would be effective in helping teachers make a decision about using external coaches. These particular facilitators and barriers could potentially be applicable to a large population of teachers. However, the facilitators and barriers that were perceived important only by few teachers are also important; school principals and local policy makers should consider the usefulness of addressing these various facilitators and barriers on a case-by-case basis.

The current study has some limitations. First, the study used a self-administrated questionnaire, although the questions were developed through careful interview in a previous study (Aoyagi et al., 2013a). Second, the analysis was cross-sectional, thereby making it impossible to identify the cause and effect. However, the cause and effect relationship would not make a large difference in the ultimate practice of SBECSA because enhancing facilitators and reducing barriers would benefit teachers and promote recruitment of external coaches in both situations.

Despite these limitations, the present study adds quantitative support to the facilitators and barriers reported by Aoyagi et al. (2013a), which can be applied to improve  the  effectiveness  of external coach recruitment and use.


 CONCLUSION

A high percentage of teachers perceived many facilitators and barriers as applicable to their decisions on whether to use external coaches.

The present study made it possible to differentiate the importance of each facilitator and barrier from the teachers’ point of view. Adapting recruitment strategies to reflect the facilitators and barriers that were especially highly perceived, particularly those facilitators highly perceived as important by SBECSA teachers who currently use external coaches and the barriers highly perceived as important by SBECSA teachers who do not, would be an effective strategy to promote recruitment of external coaches. In terms of future research, verifying the longitudinal effect of change for each facilitator and barrier will be needed to develop an effective promotion strategy toward recruitment of external coaches for SBECSA.


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank all participating teachers and principals. The present study was supported by a Sasakawa Sports Research Grant (No. 120B3-010, 130B3-006) from the Sasakawa Sports Foundation, a Research Grant (No. 26-3450) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Global COE Program “Sport Sciences for the Promotion of Active Life” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.



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