Welcome
  Introduction
  Methods
  Procedure
Results
  Discussion
  Practical Implications      Conclusion
  Relevant Links

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An examination of coaches and their efforts to maximize team cohesion and team satisfaction
by: Bostjan Kolaric

Welcome

Thank you for visting the site containing my senior research. 

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Introduction

Leadership is the art and science of influencing others through credibility, capability and commitment (Barrow, 1977; Stogdill, 1974).   In other words, leadership is a skill that a certain individual possesses which includes the ability to instruct, direct and coach by demonstration.  Coaches are people that have the ability to understand and play the game to the point of perfection and they know how to teach others to play within the limits and rules of a certain game.  Coaching can also be seen as a behavioral process where the individual, coach influences others to do what he or she wants them to do  (Barrow, 1977; Stogdill, 1974). Coaches are the first individuals people look to if things are not going according to schedule or according to  desire, but in the big picture coaching is much more than telling athletes what to do.  Coaching consists of several situational characteristics, where a coach knows what and how to say certain things to a certain athlete  (Barrow, 1977; Stogdill, 1974).  Also important are individual differences such as    leadership characteristics which include a coach’s ability to deal with, and coach an athlete and knowing how to distinguish between an athlete that is good at taking negative feedback and an athlete that does not know how to take negative feedback as instruction (Kark, Shamir and Chen, 2003).  
Coaching Style
Athletes may prefer coaches that use an authoritarian style of coaching, which is demanding, consists of enforcing standards, is restrictive and is very controlling.  In this style of coaching, coaches tend not to communicate with their athletes and athletes do not know why they receive punishment or why they are disciplined  (Mandell & Phewani, 2003).  This type of coaching can cause tense relationship and interactions between coach and athlete where athlete feels intimidated which could ultimately cause level of performance decline, where overall the entire team would suffer.  
Leadership Style and Gender
In a related study, Mandell & Pherwani (2003) examined the relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership (where athletes are allowed to make decisions).  Researchers were very interested in the emotions of the leaders and wanted to look at whether male and female managers led their respective businesses in a different way.
Leadership in Coaching
Athletes who play for coaches with many different coaching styles see leadership in many different ways.  Some coaches who have very positive and somewhat “soft” coaching style, let their athletes just have fun and do not care or express concern for the score or outcome, and then there are coaches who demand attention and pay a lot of attention to the final outcome and demand winning.
Team Cohesion and Satisfaction
Athletes need some sort of support from their coaches and this support comes in different ways, sometimes they need to be told that they are doing a good job and other times they need to be rewarded in some other way.  In another study Westre & Weiss (1991) investigated the relationship between perceived coaching behaviors and team cohesion on high school football teams.
My hypothesis is that athletes prefer authoritative leadership style, and these athletes  who prefer authoritative coaching style will indicate higher satisfaction and team cohesion on their athletic teams. 

 

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Methods
Participants
Participants in this study were 35 male and 35 female athletes at a small liberal arts (athletic division II) school in New England.  The student-athletes consisted of freshman, sophomore, Junior and senior athletes (aged 17-25).   The participants were chosen because of their athletic involvement in varsity athletics.  Athletes participating in this study were volunteers.
Materials
Materials used in the study were two questionnaires designed to measure leadership and satisfaction in team sports.  The first questionnaire was the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS) (Chelladurai, P., & Saleh, S. D., 1980), and the purpose of this questionnaire was to examine the preference of athletes for specific leadership behavior from the coach, and the perceptions of athletes regarding the actual leader behavior of their coach.  The second questionnaire was the Scale of Athlete Satisfaction (SAS) (Chelladurai, P., Imamura, H., Yamaguchi, Y., Oinuma, Y., & Miyauchi, T. 1988).  The purpose of the SAS is to assess satisfaction with various aspects of leadership in athletics and the outcome of athletic participation that can be associated with leadership.  The Scale of Athlete Satisfaction contains 10 items related to leadership in athletics.  
Measures:  
In this study there were two questionnaires that measured leadership in sports and athletes satisfaction with the sport they are involved in.  The first questionnaire is a questionnaire, which measures athlete’s preference of coaching style, while the second questionnaire measures how satisfied athletes are in their particular sport.  The first questionnaire is the Leadership Scale for Sports (Chelladurai & Selth 1980) or LSS.  The second questionnaire is the Scale for Athlete Satisfaction (Chelladurai, Imamura, Yamaguchi, Oinuma, and Miyauci, 1988), which assesses satisfaction with various aspects of leadership in athletics and the outcomes of athletic participation that can be associated with leadership.  The questionnaire (SAS) is composed of 18 questions with 7 different categories for athletes to rank themselves in, ranging from (1) extremely dissatisfied to (7) extremely satisfied.   
 

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Procedure

Procedure
 The participants in this study were told that this was a study looking at leadership in team sports.   The participants were than given an informed consent sheet to sign.  The participants (athletes) were informed that they were free to drop out of the study at any time if they wished to do so.  Next, the two questionnaires were handed out and answered in a quiet setting in a classroom.   Order of the questionnaires was alternated such that one half of the participants got LSS first, the other half got the SAS first.  Upon completion of the questionnaires, the athletes were fully debriefed and the nature of the study was explained.   

Results

In this study independent t-tests were used to see if athlete satisfaction was higher or lower among the female and male athletes tested.  Two questionnaires were used to see if athletes were satisfied with the leadership style of their coaches.  The main analyses done in this study were on leadership preference on the Leadership Scale for Sports through questions such as, “I prefer my coach to… and My coach…” and choices of answers followed in rage from “See to it that athletes work to capacity, or Help athletes with their personal problems, or pay special attention to correcting athletes’ mistakes, or let athletes share in decision making,” to determine if athletes prefer their coaches leadership style. The scoring was done on a five-point scale, where athletes chose (1) is they were dissatisfied with their coach’s leadership style, or athletes chose (3) if they were neural, and they chose (5) if they preferred their coach’s leadership style. Also an analysis was done on the Scale for Athlete Satisfaction to determine if athletes are satisfied on their personal level which was determined through questions such as, “ My fitness level, or team practices, or the attention I get from being an athlete,” with athletes answering the questionnaire on seven choices ranging from extremely dissatisfied to extremely satisfied.  The analyses failed to confirm my hypothesis, a significant level of dissatisfaction was not found.  Overall the athletes demonstrated general satisfaction with  their teams.  The Scale for Athlete Satisfaction showed that athletes were overall satisfied, this was seen with the overall mean of 5.1014 showing overall satisfaction.  The Leadership Scale for Sports questionnaire showed that athletes were not dissatisfied with their coaches leadership style, but at the same time they were not satisfied either, where the results showed that male and female athletes scored in the middle with the mean of 2.7950, meaning they do not oppose their coaches’ leadership style, but don’t wholly endorse it either.  
 
 

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Discussion

In this study the main goal was to test for leadership preference among athletes on a collegiate sport teams.  The goal was to see if female athletes were more satisfied with their coach’s leadership style than were male athletes.  The study was also looking at individual teams to see if there was leadership preference on the team overall and to see if the team in general preferred their coach’s leadership style.  Each team was looked at to see if they were satisfied with their coach and whether is they were satisfied on an individual basis.  When looking at the results of my study there are several implications of the finding that that team cohesion is the most important aspect of a team.  Team cohesion is the main factor to the athletes because in order to achieve desired goals and have a successful season the team needs to work together and be willing to work for one another as a team and not as individual members of that team.

 

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Practical Implications

When looking at this study one can see that there are things that could have been done differently.  For example, the study could have been divided into four groups where athletes would be divided into categories of how many years they have had their coach.  Meaning, that freshman athletes would not be in the same group as would be the senior athletes because senior athletes will have had their coach for four years and freshman or sophomores will have had their coach for only a year or two.  The importance of this could be where athletes after only a year of playing under a coach do not get used to their coaching style, where an athlete who has played for a coach for three or four years is more likely to know if they prefer their coaches leadership style.  This would give the study more depth to see if coaching preference changes with time or if there is no difference between athletes who have had their coach for a year or athletes who have had their coach for three or four years.  

 

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Conclusion

At the end of the study looking back at the hypothesis, thinking that there is a big difference between female and male athletes and what kind of leadership style they prefer, we now see that there is no significant difference.  Athletes indicated personal satisfaction with their athletic team, and also indicated that they preferred leadership from their coaches, which indicated coaches treating them as adults, where they communicate with their athletes and do not single them out in front of the group.  Small significance was found when looking at gender where female athletes indicated greater dissatisfaction with their coach’s leadership style, than did the male athletes.   The literature suggests that athletes in general prefer coaches who communicate with them and let athletes put in their input in decision-making (Truman, 2003).  In the future research might focus on team cohesion and individual satisfaction and the connection between the two, which leads to better overall results.

 

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Relevant Links (examples)
www.Anselm.com
www.Google.com
www.Yahoo.com
www.socialscience.net
www.motivation-tools.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com