Sports Psychology: Is a Coach's Perceived Sense
of Humor Associated With Liking for the Coach?
Would a coach who has a better sense of humor be liked more by players? The
participants in one study (Burke and Peterson, 1995) were female volleyball players in high
school. The study involved the evaluation of six female and two male coaches. They found
that the perceived sense of humor of coaches was positively correlated with judgments of
liking for the coaches. (1)
The participants in another study (Grisaffe, Blom, and Burke, 2003) were male and
female soccer players from a university. For both head and assistant coaches, they found
that perceived sense of humor was positively correlated with judgments of liking. (2)
These findings suggest that greater perceived sense of humor of coaches is associated
with greater liking. Because the above findings are correlational, we cannot make causal
conclusion. Other possible explanations for the findings cannot be ruled out. Nonetheless, it
would seem to be beneficial for coaches to have a good sense of humor. Humor may
demonstrate to the players that a coach is good-natured. Humor might possibly increase
enjoyment of a game or acceptance of failure. More research may be needed.
1. See their article for information on other findings.
2. See their article for information on other findings.
Burke, K. L., & Peterson, D. (1995). The effects of the coaches' use of
humor on female volleyball players' evaluation of their coaches. Journal
of Sport Behavior, 18, 83-90.
Grisaffe, C., Blom, L. C., Burke, K. L. (2003). The effects of head and
assistant coaches' use of humor on collegiate soccer players'
evaluation of their coaches. Journal of Sport Behavior, 26, 103-108.