Authors: Raymond Tucker
Raymond Tucker, D.S.M, CSCS, FMSL1, USATFL1, USAWLP-1
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
University of Houston at Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, Texas 77901
Raymond Tucker is an assistant professor of Kinesiology at the University of Houston at Victoria. He is a graduate of the United States Sports Academy with a Doctorate in Sports Management, and he is a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a certified coach by the United States Track and Field Association, United States Weightlifting Federation, and Functional Movement Systems. He is certified by the state board of educator certification in Texas in health grades (EC-12) and secondary physical education (6-12).
Preferred Behaviors Used by Coaches in Female Middle School Athletic Programs
The purpose of this study was to determine female athlete’s perception of the behavior styles of leadership used by their coaches in female middle school athletic programs. The average of these perceptions can be viewed as the actual behavior style of leadership coaches used in the treatment of their athletes. The study compared behavior styles of leadership used by coaches in female middle school athletic programs at three different middle schools. This study also compares coaches from the three different middle schools to determine if the behavior styles of leadership used are similar amongst coaches.
Data for this study was collected using the Leadership Scale of Sports (LSS) questionnaire with the permission of Dr. Packianthan Chelladurai Ph.D at Ohio State University. The questionnaire measures an athlete’s perception of their coach’s behavior style of leadership and consists of forty items that all begin with “My Coach.” These forty items represent five dimensions of leadership behavior in sports and operationally defined in the Leadership Scale of Sports.
The scoring of the Leadership Scale of Sports questionnaire was based on an ordinal scale, five-category scale that consists of a numerical number: 1. Always; 2. Often (about 75 % of the time); 3. Occasionally (50% of the time); 4. Seldom (about 25% of the time); 5 Never. Each of the forty items on the Leadership Scale of Sports questionnaire represents one of the five latent dimensions of leadership (2). These five dimensions were
1. Autocratic Behavior
2. Democratic Behavior
3. Positive Feedback
4. Social Support Behavior
5. Training and Instruction
The athletic coordinators of each school were each given instructions in person prior to the questionnaire being mailed. The questionnaires were sent back in a self- addressed stamped envelope. Athletic coordinators at the respective middle schools received communication in person, phone, and e-mail. The data was analyzed quantitatively by using the 15.0 version of the SPSS statistical software. Due to the ordinal and theoretically categorical nature of the LSS scale, nonparametric statistical methods (i.e., a test of medians rather than means) was used in all data analyses. Specially, the Mann-Whitney U, Kruskal-Wallis, and multi-way contingency table (log-linear) nonparametric ANOVA tests was used. To what degree was there a difference among the distribution of LSS scores on the five dimensions for eighth grade females in middle school sports? To answer this question, the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric alternative to the parametric analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed. If a statistically significant finding was observed, post-hoc analyses was conducted to determine what leadership behaviors were preferred based on median scores.
Results of this study did detect a statistically significant difference in the behavior styles of leadership used by coaches among the middle schools between the following dimensions: (1) democratic behavior and training and instruction, (2) autocratic behavior and training and instruction, (3) social support and training and instruction, (4) positive feedback and democratic behavior, (5) positive feedback and autocratic behavior, (6) positive feedback and social support. Results of this study indicate coaches at the three respective middle school in this study place more emphasis on the social support, democratic and autocratic behavior styles of leadership. This study does not determine which behavior style of leadership is superior for the overall success of a female’s middle school athletic program. What follows is the basis for this study, procedures used to conduct the research, an analysis of the data, conclusions, and finally, recommendations for further research on this topic.
Keywords: Coaches, Coaching Climate, Effective Leadership, Female Athletes, Sports