Effective coaches improve the life skills of athletes. So one Bryant student asked a question on behalf of current and would-be coaches everywhere: what techniques might coaches use to impact athletes not only in sports but throughout their lives? Rebecca Varney '18, a Management major and two-time captain of the Bulldogs’ women’s track and field team researched the topic as part of her senior Honors Capstone project. She was invited to present the findings of her paper, "Coaching Life Skills Through Sport," at a scholarly conference—the Ninth International Conference on Sport and Society held in July in Miami, FL.
Varney, the conference’s youngest presenter, “was recognized as an Emerging Scholar for this conference,” said Professor of Management Lori Coakley, Ph.D., who was Varney’s Honors capstone advisor. As an Emerging Scholar, Varney was asked to lead discussions and moderate presentations throughout the conference. “She was even approached by Arizona State to apply to its graduate school program based on her presentation,” Coakley added. “I could not be more impressed and proud.”
Varney “was recognized as an Emerging Scholar for this conference. She was even approached by Arizona State to apply to its graduate school program based on her presentation.”
Effective coaches “have a tendency to develop coaching models based off of improving life skills within an athlete,” Varney notes in an abstract of her paper. Her research included content analysis and semi-structured interviews that explored “coaches’ and athletes’ perspectives on the impact of sport participation on areas that move beyond the sport itself.” The results of her work provide specific techniques coaches can use.
“It was such a great opportunity for me share the hard work that Professor Lori Coakley and I had done,” said Varney. “Throughout the project, Professor Coakley’s inspiration and work ethic encouraged me to put my all into the topic of coaching life skills that I’ve developed such passion for. I will cherish this amazing opportunity for a lifetime.”