The Effect of Training Protocols on Satisfaction and Performance of Collegiate Distance Runners
When distance runners are recruited or walk-on to participate on their college track teams, they have two main goals in mind. They want to have a satisfying individual and team experience, and they have a desire to win and be the best. The outcomes of these goals are most directly influenced by their coach, who plans, develops, and implements the mental and physical aspects of the distance runners' overall training program. Wins and losses can be measured on the track, but distance runners' perceptions of satisfaction with their athletic experience are not often or easily assessed.
Based on the advantages that satisfaction can offer student-athletes, this study was designed to achieve a dual purpose. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between collegiate distance runners' satisfaction and training protocols. The secondary purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between collegiate distance runners' training program satisfaction and performance. The participants included 130 NCAA distance runners from the six major Division I conferences. In order to assess satisfaction levels of training and instruction protocols and performance, the procedures required the distance runners to complete the 2010 Track Distance Athlete Satisfaction and Performance Questionnaire. The 2010 Track Distance Athlete Satisfaction and Performance Questionnaire was comprised of the following four sections: training (satisfaction), instruction (satisfaction), performance (satisfaction), and demographic information. The results were analyzed to determine the relationships between satisfaction and the training and instruction protocols and between overall training program satisfaction and performance, gender, and academic level.
The results of this study indicated that NCAA Division I distance runners perceive their coaches' overall training programs and training and instruction protocols as satisfying.
Further research is needed to continue to fill the gap in the satisfaction and performance literature and to develop a comprehensive understanding of this complex relationship. Overall, this study found that distance runners who are satisfied with their training program tend to be confident in their training, motivated, trusting of the coach and his or her training program, and enjoy their college racing and training experience. Therefore, satisfaction also positively affects distance runner retention.