These were: most valuable players (MVPs), ball hogs, chest thumpers, pawns, overreactors, free spirits, and entertainers.
The ball hogs were four technically well-skilled, competitive, and physical boys who, like the MVPs, appeared to have had some previous experience of soccer.
The four ball hogs get into a group together and do the practice correctly for about a minute.
During small-sided games which were not directly supervised by instructors, ball hogs took the lead in terms of refereeing and team selection.
During the formal game nights, ball hogs were very competitive and result-focused.
Finally, and in direct contrast to MVPs, after scoring a goal it was common for ball hogs to engage in fairly elaborate celebrations, and "announce the score" loudly to everyone around:
While they were not as skillful as the ball hogs and could not dominate game play to the same extent, chest thumpers were similarly motivated and possessed what co-instructor Greg termed a "win at all costs mentality." As illustrated by the following data extract, chest thumpers also were quick to let other children know when they were successful and more likely to be observed engaging in off-task behaviors or modifying practices and drills than ball hogs:
During small-sided and formal games, pawns were active although somewhat hesitant, unconcerned about the result or scoring goals, got less touches on the ball than children with more skill, and were observed "giving way" to MVPs, ball hogs and chest thumpers:
Despite the absence of bullying observed in the soccer program and the instructor intent and skill, it should be emphasized that the participation styles identified in the current study did still form a hierarchy in which those relatively well-skilled children at the top (i.e., MVPs, ball hogs, and chest thumpers) generally got more from the program in terms of learning and pleasure than those relatively unskilled children at the bottom (i.e., pawns, overreactors, free spirits, and entertainers).
For example, bullying aside, the current study's MVPs, ball hogs, and chest thumpers behaved in a fashion somewhat similar to Griffin's (1985) nice guys, machos, and junior machos and there were elements of Griffin's (1985) invisible players within the present study's pawns, free spirits and entertainers.