Using a qualitative case-study design, the purpose of the present study was to explore the experiences of a former exemplary peer athlete mentor (i.e., Nick [a pseudonym]). Data from 3 interviews (totaling 4 hr, 50 min) with Nick were analyzed using thematic narrative analysis. Nick indicated that mentoring played a key role in an athlete’s ability to rise to elite sport. He noted that he was motivated to mentor his protégés for their benefit but also for the shared gains associated with mentorship—the latter of which suggested he was involved in relational mentoring relationships. He further described having an unwavering belief in his protégés and a deep allegiance to them. Finally, Nick shared his views on the complexity of the “mentoring identity” that he had, to some extent, adopted. The findings provide novel insights into why, and to some degree how, athletes may serve as peer mentors.
Matt Hoffmann, Todd Loughead, and Jeffrey Caron
Diana J.E. Vincer and Todd M. Loughead
This study examined the influence of athlete leadership behaviors on perceptions of team cohesion. The participants were 312 athletes from 25 varsity and club level teams. Each participant completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985) that assessed cohesion and the Leadership Scale for Sports (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980) that assessed athlete leadership behaviors. Overall, it was found that individual perceptions of Training and Instruction, and Social Support positively influenced all four dimensions of cohesion (ATG-T, ATG-S, GI—T, GI-S). Furthermore, Autocratic Behavior was negatively associated with the four dimensions of cohesion. Finally, Democratic Behavior was positively related to ATG-T. These findings provide researchers, sport psychology consultants, athletes, and coaches with some initial evidence that it is important to foster the development of athlete leader behaviors to influence the team environment.
David A. Urquhart, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to explore the development, articulation, and implementation of a coaching vision and how this created and sustained a culture of excellence. Six multiple championship–winning men’s university ice hockey head coaches were interviewed. Their combined experience consisted of 20 national titles and over 4,100 wins at the university level. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results indicated that these coaches established a vision that could be separated into three phases: development, articulation, and implementation. Notably, development included the life experiences, personal characteristics, and habits that assisted the development of the coaches’ vision, including apprenticing as an assistant coach. Articulation and implementation involved clearly communicating their vision to athletes, coaches, and personnel who then enacted the vision. Overall, these findings contribute to a better understanding of how championship-winning coaches organize, teach, and articulate their goals through their coaching vision.
Ashley M. Duguay, Todd M. Loughead, and Krista J. Munroe-Chandler
The purpose of the current study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a season-long athlete leadership development program. Participants were 27 female varsity athletes who participated in four leadership workshops throughout the season, each 1 hr in duration. All of the participants completed inventories measuring leadership behaviors, cohesion, communication, athlete satisfaction, and peer motivational climate. Overall, the results showed significant differences in regards to leadership behaviors, athlete satisfaction, and peer motivational climate from pre- to postintervention. Further, follow-up focus groups were also conducted to assess the social validity of the leadership development program. These focus groups revealed important insight into program structure, influence of the program, leadership challenges, and suggestions for future improvements. These findings provide researchers, sport psychology consultants, and coaches with important information regarding the effectiveness of this athlete leadership development program in targeting human and social capital development.
Scott Rathwell, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of the study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the characteristics head coaches looked for when hiring their head assistant coach, the main roles and responsibilities assigned to assistants, and the techniques and behaviors used to develop them. Data were obtained through interviews with six accomplished Canadian University head football coaches. Results indicated head coaches hired loyal assistants who possessed extensive football knowledge that complimented their own skill sets. Once hired, head coaches had their assistant coaches help them with recruiting, managing a major team unit, and developing athletes. They helped advance their assistants’ careers through personal mentorships which included exposure to external sources of knowledge such as football camps and coaching conferences. These results represent one of the first empirical accounts of head coaches’ perceptions on hiring and developing head assistant coaches.
Ashley M. Duguay, Todd M. Loughead, and James M. Cook
The present study sought to address 2 limitations of previous athlete-leadership research: (a) Researchers have predominantly examined the shared nature of athlete leadership using aggregated approaches, which has limited our ability to examine differences in the degree of sharedness between teams, and (b) the limited availability of research related to dyadic predictors (i.e., qualities of the relation between 2 individuals) of athlete leadership. Therefore, social-network analysis was used to examine athlete leadership across multiple levels (i.e., individual, dyadic, and network) in 4 competitive female youth soccer teams (N = 68). Findings demonstrated differences in the degree to which athlete leadership was shared between the teams. Furthermore, multiple-regression quadratic-assignment procedures showed that skill nomination and formal leadership status were significant predictors of how often participants reported looking to their teammates for leadership.
Tamara L. Wickwire, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to examine elite same-sex dyadic sport teams. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with elite beach volleyball athletes. The results of the analysis revealed three higher-order categories: (a) sport environment, which included elements related to participation in beach volleyball such as challenges and comparisons between partnerships and other sports; (b) dyad structure and composition, which included individual and relationship elements that created a sense of balance in the partnership; and (c) dyadic interaction process, which focused on developing communication and cohesion in the partnership and working toward an ideal state where interaction was efficient and effective. The results of the study extend group dynamics literature by studying the dyad as a separate group entity and by revealing information specific to this group of athletes.
Julie Newin, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of the current study was to explain youth ice hockey coaches’ perceptions of the effectiveness of a team-building intervention program. Eight Peewee-level hockey coaches implemented the same team-building activities with their teams throughout the regular season. Data were gathered using 3 methods. Specifically, coaches answered questions on a pre- and post-intervention form after each team-building activity, coaches’ behaviors were observed by members of the research team, and each coach completed a semistructured exit interview after the completion of the regular season. Results highlighted the benefits of the team-building intervention program. Specifically, coaches felt athletes enjoyed this experience and improved or acquired a variety of important life skills and abilities. Coaches also felt that athletes bonded during activities and improved their abilities to work together as a group. Finally, coaches felt that their own personal communication skills improved.
Julie Senécal, Todd M. Loughead, and Gordon A. Bloom
The purpose of the current study was to determine whether the implementation of a season-long team-building intervention program using team goal setting increased perceptions of cohesion. The participants were 86 female high school basketball players from 8 teams. The teams were randomly assigned to either an experimental team goal–setting or control condition. Each participant completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ; Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 2002; Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985), which assessed cohesion at both the beginning and end of the season. Overall, the results revealed a significant multivariate effect, Pillai’s trace F(12, 438) = 2.68, p = .002. Post hoc analyses showed that at the beginning of the season, athletes from both conditions did not differ in their perceptions of cohesion. However, at the end of the season, athletes in the team goal–setting condition held higher perceptions of cohesion than athletes in the control condition. Overall, the results indicated that team goal setting was an effective team-building tool for influencing cohesiveness in sport teams.
Matt D. Hoffmann, Todd M. Loughead, and Gordon A. Bloom
The general objective of the current study was to explore the experiences of elite level athletes who reported being peer mentored by other athletes during their sporting careers. The primary purpose was to identify the mentoring functions provided by athlete mentors, while the secondary purpose was to examine the outcomes related to peer mentored athletes’ (i.e., protégés) mentoring experiences. Individual interviews were conducted with 14 elite peer mentored athletes, and the data were analyzed using a hierarchical content analysis. The results indicated that athlete mentors provided a variety of specific functions that facilitated protégés’ progression through sport and development from a personal standpoint. The findings also showed that protégés benefitted in terms of enhanced performance and confidence, and also demonstrated a willingness to provide mentorship to their peers. In sum, the results of the current study may be used to enhance the effectiveness of peer mentoring relationships between athletes.