The Effects of Collegiate Sports Coaching on the Male Voice: Pilot Data

  • Irena Vincent
    Corresponding author: Irena Vincent, State University of New York College at Cortland, Communication Disorders and Sciences Department, Professional Studies Building, Room 2203, Cortland, NY 13045.
    State University of New York College at Cortland, Communication Disorders and Sciences Department, Cortland, NY
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  • Mary J. Emm
    State University of New York College at Cortland, Communication Disorders and Sciences Department, Cortland, NY
    Search for articles by this author
Published:December 27, 2020DOI:



      This research gathered pilot data on the effects of a typical collegiate athletic season on the male coach's voice.

      Materials and methods

      Ten male coaches and ten age- and sex-matched controls participated. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed to assess group differences in: 1) written self-reports obtained during one session, 2) acoustic and aerodynamic variables obtained during regular season and during off-season for the coaches and only once for the controls, and 3) auditory-perceptual data provided by three speech-language pathologists using the Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice during one listening session. Data pertaining to the coaches’ regular season, to the coaches’ off-season, and to the control participants were designated as in-season, off-season, and control, respectively.


      Significant self-reported findings included more phonotraumatic behaviors in the coaches than in the controls and higher in-season than off-season and control vocal demand. The coaches’ history of voice problems was unrelated and the controls’ was related to respiratory illness and addressing a large audience. A significant acoustic finding was lower off-season than control low fundamental frequency. Finally, trained listeners perceived control loudness as more aberrant than off-season loudness and they noted vocal fry twice as many times in in-season and off-season than in control voices.


      This study exposed traces of adverse voice reactions to coaching and confirmed that coaches harbor a job-based proclivity to voice overuse. Self-reported measures appeared to be the least and aerodynamic the most immune to phonatory exertion that pervades daily coaching tasks. Future studies are warranted to further delineate how athletic coaching interferes with voice production.

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