The extent to which job satisfaction is experienced by a coach determines the level of performance and productivity [1] of a coach. The instilling of job satisfaction is a crucial task of management since job satisfaction creates confidence, loyalty, improved quality and increased production [2]. Job satisfaction, however, does not result from just offering more incentives to employees. Research on job satisfaction conducted since the 1970’s have revealed that job satisfaction is not a static state, but is subject to influence and modification from forces within and outside the individual [3]. Sport organizations today face heightened competition on a global basis resulting in sport organizations raising their expectations regarding results and commitment. Sports coaches whose careers are volatile [4], are thus experiencing increased performance pressures that have an impact on their job satisfaction. This paper reports on the various factors that contribute to the job satisfaction of professional sports coaches in South Africa (SA).


The present investigation is part of a larger study examining the management of professional sports coaches in SA. An appropriate literature study involving an investigation of job satisfaction was undertaken. Furthermore, in-depth interviews with human resources (HR) managers (n = 10) and professional sports coaches (n = 10) were conducted. Two structured questionnaires, one for HR managers and one for professional sports coaches were developed. Four hundred and fifty (450) questionnaires each were administered to HR managers and professional sports coaches at sport organizations affiliated to the South African Sports Commission with a response rate of 51% (n = 231) and 54% (n = 242) respectively. The data was analysed using the statistical programme for social sciences (SPSS - version 11). Coefficient alpha was computed in order to determine the reliability of the items in the final construct.

The results of the study suggests that professional sports coaches derive satisfaction from performing the coaching task itself, but experience dissatisfaction from the job description, the supervision, their performance appraisal, their compensation, their contracts, lack of job security and flaws in the recruitment and selection process.
The results suggest most sport organizations lack an appropriate instrument or personnel with the necessary knowledge and experience to appraise the performance of coaches. HR managers fail to recognize the uniqueness of the job of the professional sports coach when formulating the job descriptions of coaches. There exists inconsistency with regard to compensation and benefits that are offered to professional sports coaches. Currently there are no trade unions specifically for sports coaches in SA resulting in coaches having limited avenues to direct grievances. The contracts of coaches appear one-sided, contributing to job dissatisfaction. Several implications for sport organizations emerged from the study. Sport organizations in SA need to examine the job descriptions of coaches, investigate various performance tools to appraise the coach, scrutinize the contacts of coaches, and ensure that compensation packages that offered to coaches are consistent with the job performed. The findings of the study will be disseminated to HR managers at sport organizations so that they can enhance the job satisfaction of coaches and retain them.


[1]. Rogers et al. (1994). Journal of Services Marketing, 8, 14-26
[2]. Tietjen M. A. & Myers R. M. (1998). Management Decision, 36, 226-231
[3]. Lam S. K. (1994). International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 12, 72-78
[4]. Surujlal et al. (2003). AJPERD, special edition, October 2003