Athlete leadership dispersion and satisfaction in interactive sport teams

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Objective:Athlete leadership on sport teams can be represented by an individual occupying a formal or informal leadership role within a team who influences a group of team members to achieve a common goal [Loughead, Hardy, & Eys, (2006). The nature of athlete leadership. Journal of Sport Behavior, 29, 142–158]. Previous research has suggested that individuals involved in sport view the presence of athlete leaders as a crucial component to the effective functioning of the team [Glenn & Horn, (1993) Psychological and personal predictors of leadership behavior in female soccer athletes. Journal Applied of Sport psychology, 5, 17–34]. The purpose of the present study was to examine, at both the beginning and end of a competitive season, the relationship between individual perceptions of athlete leader dispersion across three types of leadership functions (i.e., task, social, external) and satisfaction.Method:Participants included 218 intercollegiate athletes from a variety of interactive team sports. At the beginning and end of their competitive seasons, athletes indicated who the task, social, and external leaders were on their respective teams and responded to four dimensions of the Athlete Satisfaction Questionnaire [Riemer & Chelladurai, (1998) Development of the Athlete Satisfaction Questionnaire (ASQ). Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20, 127–156].Results:Those who perceived all three leadership functions to be represented to the same degree (i.e., higher number of leaders for all three functions, an average number of leaders for all three functions, or a lower number of leaders for all three functions) were more satisfied with their team's performance and degree to which the team was integrated than those individuals who perceived an imbalance in the number of athletes engaging in those functions.Conclusion:The relative number of leaders within sport groups is related to individual perceptions of satisfaction.

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