Professional Rugby Coaches’ Perceptions of the Role of the Team Captain

in The Sport Psychologist
View More View Less
  • 1 AECC University College
  • 2 University of Winchester
  • 3 KU Leuven
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $69.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $92.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $131.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $175.00

The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of the coach in relation to the perceived function of captains in professional rugby union. Participants were 8 elite male rugby coaches purposely sampled for this study. Participants were interviewed individually to gain an understanding of their experiences and perceptions of the role of the captain. The data were thematically analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Ten superordinate themes emerged in the study: types of captain, captain development, challenges, captains role, off-field responsibilities, nature of the job, selection, cultural architects, coach–captain relationship, and key attributes. Results suggest that coaches view the captain as an extension of their authority in the team, leadership groups are increasingly important to support captains, and the criteria for the selection of captains are still vague. As a result, future research should explore the development of specific evidence-based approaches to captain selection and development.

Cotterill is with the School of Psychology, Sport and Physical Activity, AECC University College, Bournemouth, United Kingdom, and the University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom. Cheetham is with the Dept. of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom. Fransen is with the Dept. of Movement Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Cotterill (scotterill@aecc.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
  • Blanton, J.E., Sturges, A.J., & Gould, D. (2014). Lessons learned from a leadership development club for high school athletes. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 5(1), 113. doi:10.1080/21520704.2013.848827

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bucci, J., Bloom, G.A., Loughead, T.M., & Caron, J.G. (2012). Ice hockey coaches’ perceptions of athlete leadership. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 24(3), 243259. doi:10.1080/10413200.2011.636416

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Callow, N., Smith, M.J., Hardy, L., Arthur, C.A., & Hardy, J. (2009). Measurement of transformational leadership and its relationship with team cohesion and performance level. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 21(4), 395412. doi:10.1080/10413200903204754

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M. (2016). Benefits, pressures, and challenges of leadership and captaincy in the National Hockey League. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10, 118136. doi:10.1123/jcsp.2015-0033

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chelladurai, P. (1990). Leadership in sports: A review. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 21(4), 328354.

  • Cope, J. (2011). Entrepreneurial learning from failure: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(6), 604623. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2010.06.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cotterill, S.T. (2013). Team psychology in sports: Theory and practice. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • Cotterill, S.T. (2016). Developing leadership skills in sport: A case study of elite cricketers. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1(1), 1625. doi:10.1123/cssep.2016-0004

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cotterill, S.T., & Cheetham, R. (2017). The experiences of captaincy in professional sport: The case of elite professional rugby. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(2), 215221. PubMed ID: 27802785 doi:10.1080/17461391.2016.1245788

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cotterill, S.T., & Fransen, K. (2016). Leadership in team sports: Current understanding and future directions. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 9(1), 116133. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2015.1124443

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York, NY: Plenum.

  • Didymus, F.F. (2017). Olympic and international level sports coaches’ experiences of stressors, appraisals, and coping. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 9(2), 214232. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2016.1261364

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dirks, K.T. (2000). Trust in leadership and team performance: Evidence from NCAA basketball. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(6), 10041012. PubMed ID: 11125648 doi:10.1037/0021-9010.85.6.1004

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dupuis, M., Bloom, G.A., & Loughead, T.M. (2006). Team captains’ perceptions of athlete leadership. Journal of Sport Behavior, 29(1), 6078.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Boen, F., Vansteenkiste, M., Mertens, N., & Vande Broek, G. (2018). The power of competence support: The impact of coaches and athlete leaders on intrinsic motivation and performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28(2), 725745. doi:10.1111/sms.12950

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Haslam, S.A., Mallett, C.J., Steffens, N.K., Peters, K., & Boen, F. (2016). Leading from the centre: A comprehensive examination of the relationship between central playing positions and leadership in sport. PLOS One, 11(12), e0168150. PubMed ID: 27977734 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168150

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Haslam, S.A., Steffens, N., Mallett, C., Peters, K., & Boen, F. (2019). All for us and us for all: Introducing the 5R Shared Leadership Program [Manuscript submitted for publication].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Vanbeselare, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2014). The myth of the team captain as principal leader: Extending the athlete leadership classification within sport teams. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(14), 13891397. PubMed ID: 24660668 doi:10.1080/02640414.2014.891291

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2018). When is a leader considered as a good leader? Perceived impact on teammates’ confidence and social acceptance as key ingredients. International Journal of Psychology Research, 12(1), 121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Van Puyenbroeck, S., Loughead, T.M., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2015a). The art of athlete leadership: Identifying high-quality leadership at the individual and team level through social network analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psyhology, 37(3), 274290. doi:10.1123/jsep.2014-0259

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fransen, K., Van Puyenbroeck, S., Loughead, T.M., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2015b). Who takes the lead? Social network analysis as pioneering tool to investigate shared leadership within sports teams. Social Networks, 43, 2838. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2015.04.003

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gillet, N., Vallerand, R.J., Amoura, S., & Baldes, B. (2010). Influence of coaches’ autonomy support on athletes’ motivation and sport performance: A test of the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 11(2), 155161. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2009.10.004

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D., & Voelker, D.K. (2010). Youth sport leadership development: Leveraging the sports captaincy experience. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 1(1), 114. doi:10.1080/21520704.2010.497695

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grant, J., & Cotterill, S.T. (2016). An exploration of the role of the captain in field hockey: The coaches’ perspective. Proceedings of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, Phoenix, AZ.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S.A., Dingle, G.A., & Chang, M.X.-L. (2016). Groups 4 Health: Evidence that a social-identity intervention that builds and strengthens social group membership improves mental health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 194, 188195. PubMed ID: 26828756 doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.01.010

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D., & Platow, M.J. (2011). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holmes, R.M., McNeil, M., & Adorna, P. (2010). Student athletes’ perceptions of formal and informal team leaders. Journal of Sport Behavior, 33(4), 442465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jõesaar, H., Hein, V., & Hagger, M.S. (2011). Peer influence on young athletes’ need satisfaction, intrinsic motivation and persistence in sport: A 12-month prospective study. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12(5), 500508. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.04.005

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, M.J., Partridge, T.R., & Coburn, T. (1983). Influence of team structure in determining leadership function in football. Journal of Sport Behavior, 6(2), 5966.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Loughead, T.M., Hardy, J., & Eys, M.A. (2006). The nature of athlete leadership. Journal of Sport Behavior, 29(2), 142158.

  • Martin-Albo, J., Nunez, J.L., Dominguez, E., Leon, J., & Tomas, J.M. (2012). Relationships between intrinsic motivation, physical self-concept and satisfaction with life: A longitudinal study. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(4), 337347. PubMed ID: 22243036 doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.649776

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Melnick, M.J., & Loy, J.W. (1996). The effects of formal structure on leadership recruitment: Analysis of team captaincy among New Zealand provincial rugby teams. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 31(1), 91105. doi:10.1177/101269029603100105

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mosher, M. (1979). The team captain. Volleyball Technical Journal, 4(1), 78.

  • Palmer, M., Larkin, M., De Visser, R., & Fadden, G. (2010). Developing an interpretative phenomenological approach to focus group data. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 7(2), 99121. doi:10.1080/14780880802513194

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raedeke, T.D., & Smith, A.L. (2004). Coping resources and athlete burnout: An examination of stress mediated and moderation hypotheses. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26(4), 525541. doi:10.1123/jsep.26.4.525

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rees, T., & Hardy, L. (2004). Matching social support with stressors. Effects on factors underlying performance in tennis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5, 319337. doi:10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00018-9

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rees, T., Hardy, L., & Freeman, P. (2007). Stressors, social support, and effects upon performance in golf. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25, 3342. doi:10.1080/02640410600702974

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sarason, I.G., Sarason, B.R., Potter, E.H., & Antoni, M.H. (1985). Life events, social support, and illness. Psychosomatic Medicine, 47, 156163. PubMed ID: 4048362 doi:10.1097/00006842-198503000-00007

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Slater, P.E. (1955). Role differentiation in small sroups. American Sociological Review, 20(3), 300310. doi:10.2307/2087389

  • Smith, B., & Caddick, N. (2012). Qualitative methods in sport: A concise overview for guiding social scientific sport research. Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 1(1), 6073. doi:10.1080/21640599.2012.701373

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, J.A. (1996). Beyond the divide between cognition and discourse: Using interpretive phenomenological analysis in health psychology. Psychology and Health, 11(2), 261271. doi:10.1080/08870449608400256

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, J.A. (2004). Reflecting on the development of interpretative phenomenological analysis and its contribution to qualitative research in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1(1), 3954. doi:10.1191/1478088704qp004oa

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, J.A., & Osborn, M. (2015). Interpretative phenomenological analysis. In J.A. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (3rd ed., pp. 5180). London, UK: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, M.J., Arthur, C.A., Hardy, J.T., Callow, N., & Williams, D. (2013). Transformational leadership and task cohesion in sport: The mediating role of intra-team communication. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(2), 249257. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.10.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Steffens, N.K., Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D., Platow, M.J., Fransen, K., Yang, J., … Boen, F. (2014). Leadership as social identity management: Introducing the Identity Leadership Inventory (ILI) to assess and validate a four-dimensional model. Leadership Quarterly, 25, 10011024. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.05.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tracy, S.J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 837851. doi:10.1177/1077800410383121

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yukelson, D., Weinberg, R., Richardson, P., & Jackson, A. (1983). Interpersonal attraction and leadership within collegiate sport teams. Journal of Sport Behavior, 6(1), 2836.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zuber, C., Zibung, M., & Conzelmann, A. (2015). Motivational patterns as an instrument for predicting success in promising young football players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(2), 160168. PubMed ID: 24938614 doi:10.1080/02640414.2014.928827

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 435 435 45
Full Text Views 40 40 1
PDF Downloads 30 30 0