Leadership: Athletes and Coaches in Sport

Authors: Dr. Sharon P. Misasi*, Dr. Gary Morin and Lauren Kwasnowski

Dr. Sharon P. Misasi is a Professor of Exercise Science at Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. Gary Morin is a Professor of Exercise Science, Assistant Athletic Trainer and Program Director of the Athletic Training Education Program. Lauren Kwasnowski is a Research assistant for this study, undergraduate student in the Allied Health Program at the University of Connecticut and a member/captain of the UCONN Division I Lacrosse team.

*Corresponding Author:
Sharon P. Misasi PhD, AT.
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
PE 002B
New Haven CT 06515
misasis1@southernct.edu

ABSTRACT
This study investigated the interpersonal aspects and perceptions of the coach-athlete relationship as it pertains to collegiate athletes at Division I and II universities and athletes and coaches of different genders. Electronic surveys were emailed to 50 NCAA Division I and 50 Division II head coaches in the Northeast. Coaches were requested to respond to the survey and email the athlete survey to their respective athletes. These surveys were completed by both coaches and athletes: Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q), Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS). The final instrument, Coaching Behavior Scale for Sports (CBS-S), was completed by only the athletes. There were no significant differences found with the CART-Q. The LSS illustrated several areas of significances in the categories of Training, Democratic Behavior, Autocratic Behavior and Social Support. Although there was no significance found in Positive Feedback there was an interesting finding in that female coaches felt they were less likely to provide positive feedback than their male counterparts. The CBS-S has subscales which include: physical training and planning, technical skills, mental preparation, competition strategies, personal rapport and negative personal rapport. Statistical significance was found in the following subscales: competition strategies, personal rapport and negative personal rapport. The coach is a meaningful person in the lives of athletes and the role they play is vital in the athlete’s sport experience. Our results indicate that the level of competitive division appears to play a role in how athletes perceive their coaches and how coaches perceive themselves. In addition, gender differences among coaches’ affect responses of the athletes and the coaches. Leadership is not a simple process. There is no one way to lead and what works for one may not work for all. Therefore, the best one can do is get to know their athletes and work hard to understand their goals, motivations and needs.

KEYWORDS: Coaching, Effective Leadership, Successful Leadership

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