Successful Leadership Behavior in Sport
The most important successful factor of a coach is to help athletes to improve their athletic skill in a wide range of tasks from sequential development and mastery of basic skills for beginners, to the more specialized physical, technical, tactical and psychological preparation of elite athletes (Martens,1987; Bompa,1983). These functions are normally accomplished by the coach engaging in leadership behavior that effectively elicits appropriate actions from the athlete towards achieving set goals, in competitive or practice situations. The type of leadership behavior displayed by the coach can have a significant effect on the performance and psychological well being of the athlete (Horn, 1992). Consequently, effective coaching behavior varies across specific contexts as the characteristics of the athletes and the prescribed situation change (Chelladurai, 1978). The context of the sport situation and the characteristics of the coach and the athletes themselves dictate appropriate leadership behavior.
To achieve improvement in athletic performance, it may be necessary for the coach to engage in coaching behaviors to which the athlete is receptive. What may be an appropriate coaching behavior to one athlete may be an ineffective approach for another. Similarly, specific behavior by the coach may be more productive of certain outcomes than others (Tinning, 1982). Different needs and preferences from individual athletes within the team confront coaches of team sports. The coach may adopt either a homogenous approach that treats all athletes equally, or alternatively create a heterogeneous style that provides differential treatment to individual athletes. As a result of this, it is important for the coach to be aware of the coaching preferences of his/her athletes in order to provide satisfactory experiences and improve athletic performance. According to Chelladurai and Carron (1978), if a coach adapts his or her behavior to comply with the athletes’ preferred behavior, the athlete may be more readily inclined to repay the coach through an improved performance.
Leadership behavior related coach and player
Chelladurai (1978) proposed that (a) athletes in interdependent and open sports would prefer more training and instruction than athletes in independent and closed sports; (b) athletes in independent sports would prefer more democratic behavior than those in interdependent sports; (c) athletes in inter-dependence sports would prefer more autocratic behavior than those in independent sports; (d) athletes in independent sports would prefer more social support from the coach than those in interdependent sports; and (e) athletes in interdependent and open sports would prefer more prefer more positive feedback than those in independent and closed sports.
Chelladurai and Salesh’s (1980) showed Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS):
- Training and instruction: Coaching behavior aimed at improving the athletes’ performance by emphasizing and facilitating hard and strenuous training; instructing them in the skills, techniques and tactics of sport; clarify the relationship among the members; and structuring and coordinating the members’ activities.
- Democratic behavior: Coaching behavior that allows greater athlete participation in decisions pertaining to group goals, practice methods, and game tactics and strategies.
- Autocratic behavior: Coaching behavior that involves independence in decision making and stresses personal authority.
- Social support: Coaching behavior characterized by a concern for the welfare of individual athletes, positive group atmosphere, and warm interpersonal relations with members.
- Positive feedback: Coaching behavior that reinforces an athlete by recognizing and rewarding good performance.
Thus, Chelladurai and Saleh (1978) reported that team sport athletes’ (interdependent) preference for training and instruction was significantly greater than that of individual sport athletes (independent). Closed-sport (low-variability tasks) athletes also preferred significantly more training and instruction than did the open-sport athletes (high variability tasks). It was also found that interdependent closed-sport athletes preferred the greatest level of training and instruction. (House’s,1971).
Terry and Howe (1984) found that athletes in independence sports preferred more democratic and less autocratic behavior than did the athletes in interdependence sports. Terry (1984) reported that team sport athletes preferred significantly more training and instruction, autocratic behavior, and positive feedback, but less democratic behavior and social support, than individual sport athletes. These results lend support to path-goal theory (House, 1971), which postulates that when tasks are varied and interdependent, greater structure and closer supervision will be preferred.
Riemer & Chelladurai, (1995) reported one of the difficulties in comparing results of previous studies is that they included various sports that differed on the task attributes of dependence and variability. But these sport also differed in other situational attributes such as organizational size, popularity, and accompanying public pressure to perform. Thus the results relating to task dependence and variability could be confounded they effects of other attributes. To avoid this difficulty, a better approach would be to select a sport in which the playing positions differ in terms of variability and dependence. A single sport with contrasting levels of ask variability and dependence in a single team would provide an excellent opportunity to compare their effects on leadership process while at the same time controlling for other situational variables (For example, size of team, number of coaches) that may affect leadership behavior preferences (Table 1).
Table 1: Dimensions of the LSS
|Training and instruction behavior||Behavior aimed at athletes’ performance by emphasizing and facilitating hard and strenuous training; instructing them in the skill, techniques, and tactics of the sport; clarifying the relationship among the members; and structuring and coordinating the members’ activities.|
|Democratic behavior||Behavior that allows greater participation by the athletes in decisions pertaining to group goals, practice methods, and game tactics and strategies.|
|Autocratic behavior||Behavior that involves independent decision making and stress personal authority.|
|Social support behavior||Behavior characterized by a concern for the welfare of individual athletes, positive group atmosphere, and warm interpersonal relations with members.|
|Positive feedback||Behavior that reinforces an athlete by recognizing and rewarding good performance.|
Striving for the gold medal is an important goal for both coaches and athletes in measurement of success on their athletic performance. In order to reach appeal leaders provide the drive toward goal determination and goal attainment (Watkins & Rikard, 1991). Much of human interaction consists of attempts to influence the behavior of other people. One of the most important goals of a coach is to create a good learning situation where student-athletes can acquire the technical skills needed to succeed as individuals and as a team.
Antonuccio, D.O., Davis, C., Lewinsohn, P.M., & Breckenridge, J.S.(1987). Therapist variables related to cohesiveness in a group treatment for depression. Small Group Behavior,18,557-564.
Bartone , P.T.,& Kirkland F.R.(1991). Optimal leadership in small army units. Handbook of military psychology, 393-409. Chichester, England: Wiley.
Chelladurai, P.(1978). A contingency model of leadership in athletics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation , University of Waterloo, Canada.
Chelladurai, P.(1984). Discrepancy scores between preferences and perceptions of leadership behavior and satisfaction of athletes in varying sports. Journal of Sport Psychology,6,27-41.
Chelladurai, P., & Carron, A. V.(1978). Leadership. Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Sociology of Sport Monograph Series A, Catgary, AB: University of Calgray.
Chelladurai, P., & Saleh,S.D.(1978). Preferred leadership in sports. Canadian Journal of Sport Science,3,85-92.
Chelladurai, P.,& Saleh, S.(1980). Dimension of leader behavior in sports: Development of a leadership scale. Journal of Sport Psychology, 2,34-35.
Carron, A.V., Bray, S.R., & Eys, M.A.(2002). Team cohesion and team success sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 20,119-126
Carron, A.V., Bray, S.R., & Eys, M.A.(2002). Team cohesion and team success sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 20,119-126.
Carron, A.V.,Brawley, L.R. ,& Widmeyer, W.N.(1998). Measurement of cohesion in sport and exercise. In Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology.213-226. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Carron, A.V., Widmeyer, W.N.,& Brawley, L.R.(1985). The development of an instrument to asses cohesion in sport teams: the Group Environment Questionnaire. Journal of Sport Psychology, 7,244-266.
David, L., Douglas, E., Benda, J.,& Alan, B.(1997). The Relationship Between Leadership Behaviors and Group Cohesion In Team Sports. The Journal of Psychology.13(2), 196-210.
Duda, J.L.(1998). Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement. Fitness Information Technology, Inc: Morgantown.
Slater, M.R., & Sewell, D.F.(1994). An examination of the cohesion-performance relationship in university hockey teams. Journal of Sports Sciences,12,423-431.
Horne, T.,& Carron, A.V.(1985). Compatibility in coach-athlete relationships. Journal of Sport Psychology,7,134-149.
House, R.J.(1971). A path-goal theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly,16,321-338.
Riemer, H.A.,& Chelladurai, P.(1995). Leadership and Satisfaction in Athletics.
Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 17,276-293.
Riemer, H.A.(1991). Leadership behavior preferences of intercollegiate football players. Unpublished manuscript, Eastern Washington University.
Schliesman, E.(1987). Relationship between the congruence of preferred and actual leader behavior and subordinate satisfaction with leadership. Journal of Sport Behavior,10,157-166.
Terry, P.C.,& Howe,B.L.(1984). Coaching preferences of athletes. Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences,9,188-193.
Podsakoff , P.M.,& Todor, W.D.(1985). Relati0nships between leader reward and punishment behavior and group processes and productivity. Journal of Managent,11,55-73.