Instructional approaches in youth volleyball training settings: the influence of player's age and gender

Felismina Rosa Marques Pereira *, Amandio Braga Dos Santos Graça *, Minna Blomqvist ** and Isabel Maria Ribeiro Mesquita *

(*) Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport. University of Porto, Sport Faculty, Portugal
(**) Research Institute for Olympic Sports, Jyvaskyla, Finland


Rosa Marques Pereira, F., Braga Dos Santos Graça, A., Blomqvist, M., Maria Ribeiro Mesquita, I. (2011). Instructional approaches in youth volleyball training settings: the influence of player's age and gender. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 42(3), 227-244.


The purpose of this study was to examine the instructional approaches used by youth volleyball coaches by considering the influence of age and gender of players. The particular focus is on the coach’s behaviours, the type of practice, and the directness profile (assessed by the level of players’ dependence-autonomy on decision-making and task control). Twenty-eight youth volleyball coaches of a wide range of sport performance levels, evenly divided by the characteristics of their players’ gender and age (under 14s and under 18s, from developmental level) were selected for observation of their practice. Results of the survey showed the predominance of a coach-centred pedagogical approach. Prescriptive feedback was thoroughly prevalent, whereas strategies to promote active learning were seldom used. Instructions were focused on technical skills and the typical practice was based on a molecular approach, consisting of acquisition tasks with a low level of contextual interference. The analysis of the coaching directness profile demonstrated reduced autonomy in players’ decision-making and task control. This study showed a prevalence of coach-centered approach to coaching independently of the player’s gender and age in youth volleyball training settings.

Keywords: Instructional approach; Coaching; Youth volleyball; Players’ gender; Players’ age