Coaches are searching for contemporary leadership models which resonate with the modern-day athlete. Many elements of the Servant Leadership model, such as trust, inclusion, humility and service, are well suited to enhanced coach behaviors with this cohort. The purpose of this study was to examine how coaches who were perceived by their athletes to possess "servant leader" characteristics were associated with their athletes' use of mental skills, motivation, satisfaction and performance. Participants were 195 high-school basketball athletes from the Pacific Northwest in the USA. It was found that athletes who perceived their coach to possess servant leader qualities also displayed higher intrinsic motivation, were more task oriented, were more satisfied, were "mentally tougher," and performed better than were athletes coached by non-servant leaders. Furthermore, results showed that high-school basketball athletes preferred the servant-leader coaching style to more traditional styles. Results suggest that coaches who use the methods advocated by the servant-leader model produce athletes with a healthier psychological profile for sport who also perform well.
Original Publication Title
International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching
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Rieke, Micah; Hammermeister, Jon; and Chase, Matthew, "Servant Leadership In Sport: A New Paradigm For Effective Coach Behavior" (2008). Physical Education, Health and Recreation Faculty Publications. Paper 3.