23 January 2018 - 12 h 30 min
23 January 2018 - 14 h 00 min
Address30 Avenue Antoine Depage - 1050 Brussels (Room DC8.322 - 8th floor, Building D, Campus Solbosch of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences - Université Libre de Bruxelles) View map
Leading from within:
Athlete leaders’ capacity to enhance confidence and performance by strengthening players’ team identification
Leadership is a fundamental aspect of sports performance, particularly within team sport environments. Over the past 25 years, there has been significant research exploring the role of the coach/manager in this regard. However, this only represents one aspect of leadership within the sporting domain. Equally important, although far less examined, is the concept of athlete leadership. My work over the past years has established a broad foundation for athlete leadership in sport teams. While previous research solely focused on the team captain, we adopted social network analysis to provide more insight in the informal leadership structure within sports teams. In this regard, we identified the different leadership roles athletes can occupy as well as the characteristic attributes of athlete leaders. Furthermore, we have conducted several experimental studies that highlighted the impact of athlete leaders on important outcome variables such as intrinsic motivation, team confidence, and team performance. Finally, we went beyond mere description and sought to explain the mechanisms through which the athlete leaders impact their team members. Our findings suggest that athlete leaders’ team confidence can enhance members’ team confidence and performance by fostering members’ identification with the team. In particular, by showing that they believe in “our team”, leaders are able not only to make “us” a psychological reality, but also to transform “us” into an effective operational unit. We can conclude that by sharing their leadership with their athletes, coaches can foster an optimal team environment and drive their team towards success.
** Katrien Fransen is an Assistant Professor and researcher at the Physical Activity, Sports & Health Research Group (University of Leuven, Belgium).