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The overall purpose of this study was to explore athletes’ perceptions of pragmatic leadership in award-winning Canadian youth football coaches. Using a qualitative description methodology, semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 men who had been coached by 5 award-winning youth football coaches. The coaches were classified as pragmatic leaders. Participants’ perceptions of the coaches’ leadership were grouped into 3 main themes: individualized consideration, accountability/responsibility, and solving problems by valuing unique contributions. Because leadership is a process of interpersonal influence, on a practical level these themes may account for key features of the coach–athlete relationship that arise from pragmatic leadership.
The authors are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.