An Analysis Of Northern California Community College Co-Ed Track And Field Athletes' Perceptions Of Their Head Coaches' Leadership Styles As Compared To The Head Coaches' Self-Perceived Leadership Style.
Leadership is a vital force for any successful organization and effective leadership has an impact on coaches and the athletes' whom they coach. Effective leadership is perhaps one of the most important determinants to student-athletes' success. The purpose of this study was to analyze if there was a difference between Northern California community college co-ed track and field athletes' perception of their head coaches' leadership style as compared to the head coaches self-perception of their leadership styles. A total of 371 athletes and 18 head coaches from 18 Northern California track and field programs participated in this study administered over a five-week period during the spring of 2009. Utilizing the MLQ-5X Short Form and a demographic questionnaire, the study collected data on athletes' perception of their head coaches based on their own gender, year competing in track and field, primary event group, and whether English was their primary language spoken at home. Data on the head coaches' were collected based on gender, years coaching track and field, highest degree attained, and primary event group coached. Results found that overall, both groups rated the head coaches' leadership style as transformational; though based on a paired t-test analysis, the athletes' to head coaches' ratings of leadership styles measured a small, but significant difference in the means for transformational leadership. The differences were explained by the difference found in the means of the five underlying, and more specific, MLQ leadership behaviors that make up the transformational leadership style. Athletes perceived their head coaches most frequently exhibited leadership behavior was Individualized Influence Attributed and Contingent Reward, while head coaches self-perceived these behaviors somewhat lower. Head coaches self-perceived the leadership behavior of Individualized Consideration with the greatest frequency, while athletes ranking was somewhat lower. Recommendations for further study include surveying a larger geographic area and extending the research to the four year institution level.