The purpose of this study was to examine and describe how middle school athletic coaches balanced the challenges of coaching as they strived to follow the established standards for coaches, adhered to middle school principles, and tried to field a competitive team. Qualitative research techniques were used as the activities of middle school girls' basketball coaches were observed. The source of data for this study was the observations of practices as well as games and a post-observation interview with the coaches. Case studies were then written which revealed elements of coaching techniques, the coaches' own phiolosphies as they related to middle school principles, and strategies that the coaches utilized when they experienced a conflict in enacting their own standards and principles. Also, many of the established coaching standards of middle school coaching were revealed as the actions of these middle school coaches were documented. Research findings were further examined using the competing values framework. It was discovered that coaches with cognitive flexibility were more successful as they could move more easily through the quadrants of the competing values framework.
Michael James Prelesnik graduated in May of 2007, with his PhD in K-12 Educational Adminstration from Michigan State University. He has worked in secondary education for 11 years. Dr. Prelesnik is currently a middle school administrator in Mason, Michigan.