The characteristics of coaches that verbally and physically abuse young baseball players using a self-reported questionnaire

J Orthop Sci. 2019 Mar;24(2):361-367. doi: 10.1016/j.jos.2018.06.024. Epub 2018 Nov 27.


Background: Because the relationship between coaches and athletes is unequal, verbal and physical abuse remains a common problem among sports coaches. We aimed to elucidate the characteristics of baseball coaches who verbally/physically abuse young baseball players.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on youth sports team coaches in Miyagi prefecture, Japan (n = 380), using a self-reported questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression models were used for the analyses, evaluating the following variables: sex, age, educational level, smoking habits, years of coaching, level of baseball-playing experience, personal experience with verbal/physical abuse by former coaches, satisfaction with athletes' attitudes, number of athletes on the team, team competition level, awareness of the recommendations of the Japanese Society of Clinical Sports Medicine, limitations in the total pitch count, difficulty in coaching in other positions, number of games per year, and acceptance of former verbal/physical abuse.

Results: The prevalence of verbal/physical abuse toward young athletes was 74.5% (n = 283) and 6.6% (n = 25), respectively. Verbal abuse was significantly associated with personal experience of verbal abuse by former coaches (odds ratio [OR]: 2.00, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.04-3.85), and acceptance of verbal/physical abuse (OR: 2.61, 95% CI: 1.34-5.10). Physical abuse was significantly associated with greater than 10 years of coaching experience (OR: 7.16, 95% CI: 1.36-37.78), personal experience with physical abuse by former coaches (OR: 4.25, 95% CI: 1.23-14.70), and acceptance of verbal/physical abuse (OR: 3.85, 95% CI: 1.51-9.84).

Conclusions: Coaches' experiences with verbal/physical abuse by former coaches negatively affected young athletes. Breaking this cycle is necessary to keep athletes active and interested in playing baseball.

Level of evidence: Level III.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Baseball / physiology
  • Baseball / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Japan
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mentoring / ethics*
  • Mentoring / methods
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Needs Assessment
  • Physical Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult