The main purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of highly influential players in elite soccer. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 elite coaches to determine their perceptions of the characteristics, emergence, and impact of highly influential players. The interview guide was anchored in coaching literature and leadership theory, and after the interview data in this frame were explored, these athletes were labeled cultural architects. The results of the analysis revealed 3 general dimensions of cultural architects in elite teams: (a) personal characteristics, which include elements related to their achievements on the soccer pitch, mind-set, and collective orientation; (b) relationship to the coach, which includes integrity and trust; and (c) intrateam facilitator, which includes their impact as a task-team and social-team influencer. The results represent original findings identifying the characteristics of cultural architects in soccer that are most likely transferable to many other team sports.
Line D. Danielsen, Rune Giske, Derek M. Peters, and Rune Høigaard
Kurtis Pankow, Amber D. Mosewich, and Nicholas L. Holt
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.
Daya Alexander Grant
Stewart Cotterill, Richard Cheetham, and Katrien Fransen
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.
Lea-Cathrin Dohme, David Piggott, Susan Backhouse, and Gareth Morgan
Research has identified psychological skills and characteristics (PSCs) perceived to facilitate talented youth athletes’ development. However, no systematic categorization or synthesis of these PSCs exists to date. To provide such synthesis, this systematic review aimed to identify PSCs perceived as facilitative of talented youth athletes’ development, group and label synonymous PSCs, and categorize PSCs based on definitions established by Dohme, Backhouse, Piggott, and Morgan (2017). PRISMA systematic-review guidelines were employed and a comprehensive literature search of SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and ERIC completed in November 2017. Twenty-five empirical studies published between 2002 and 2017 met the inclusion criteria. Through thematic analysis, 19 PSCs were identified as facilitative of youth athletes’ development—8 were categorized as psychological skills (e.g., goal setting, social-support seeking, and self-talk) and 11 as psychological characteristics (e.g., self-confidence, focus, and motivation). The practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Ryan W. Guenter, John G.H. Dunn, and Nicholas L. Holt
The purpose of this study was to examine “intangible” characteristics that scouts consider when evaluating draft-eligible prospects for the Western Hockey League. Sixteen scouts participated in semistructured interviews that were subjected to an inductive thematic analysis and then organized around predetermined categories of why intangibles were important, what intangibles were valued, and how scouts evaluated these intangibles. Intangibles helped scouts establish players’ fit with the organizational culture of teams and influenced scouts’ draft-list ranking of players. The key intangibles scouts sought were labeled compete, passion, character, and leadership/team player. Scouts noted red flags (i.e., selfish on-ice behaviors, bad body language, and poor parental behavior) that led them to question players’ suitability for their respective organizations. Finally, scouts used an investigative process to identify and evaluate these intangibles through direct observation; interviews with players, coaches, and trainers; and assessments of players’ social media activities. Implications for sport psychology consultants are discussed.
Sarah Lawrason, Jennifer Turnnidge, Luc J. Martin, and Jean Côté
To maximize the effectiveness of coach development, educational programs should target coaches’ interpersonal behaviors, be informed by behavior-change techniques, and incorporate comprehensive evaluation procedures. Thus, informed by the full-range leadership model (see Bass and Riggio in 2006) and the Behaviour Change Wheel (see Michie et al. in 2011), Turnnidge and Côté in 2017 developed the Transformational Coaching Workshop (TCW). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the TCW’s effectiveness through observation before and after coaches’ workshop participation. Participants included 8 male head coaches of youth soccer teams. Systematic observation and coding using the Coach Leadership Assessment System were employed pre- and postworkshop to examine coaches’ leadership behaviors. Coaches made improvements in the types of leadership behaviors used and how they were conveyed. This study demonstrates that systematic observation can be implemented to explore real-world changes in behaviors. Future research should examine the impact of the TCW on athlete outcomes.
Michelle Smith, Hayley E. McEwan, David Tod, and Amanda Martindale
The research team explored UK trainee sport and exercise psychologists’ perspectives on developing professional-judgment and decision-making (PJDM) expertise during their British Psychological Society Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Stage 2). An assorted analysis approach was adopted to combine an existing longitudinal qualitative data set with the collection and analysis of a new qualitative data set. Participants (1 female, 6 male) were interviewed 4 times over a 3-yr training period, at minimum yearly intervals. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and reflexive thematic analysis applied to transcripts using the theoretical concepts of PJDM. Experience, analytical reasoning, and observation of other practitioners’ practice was useful for developing PJDM expertise. PJDM expertise might be optimized through the use of knowledge-elicitation principles. For example, supervisors could embed critical cues in the anecdotes they share to expand the experience base that trainees can draw from when making decisions.