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Leaders in Sport

Sport Leadership in Action - A Coach Helping an AthleteSport craves leaders. The intense competitive nature of sport where great demands are put on athletes and teams means that individuals are not only required to organise, cajole, and inspire themselves to perform but to do the same to others. Great coaches and captains have the ability to get the best out of the people they lead; energising, inspiring, and guiding teammates to success.

We have partnered at Sporting Bounce with the Sport Psychology Lab to bring you a series of courses and Masterclasses in sport psychology. Our Leadership Masterclass is will be live by the end of 2021. This course will help you become a better leader in sport. It will explore leadership styles in sport, the sports leadership skills required, and how personal qualities such as enthusiasm in sport leadership matters. 

So let us explore what it means to be a sports leader in more detail. The situations in sport where we need leaders are many and varied and require different skills at different times. For example, a hockey coach may find themselves leading a team that goes on an eight-game losing streak and dealing with all the challenges that brings. The very next season they are leading a team going into an end of season final full of confidence on the back of an extended winning run and facing a team they have recently beaten and wrestling with how to guard against complacency. In the team there may be young players unsure of themselves, experienced internationals, players who need a physical and metaphorical arm around the shoulder no matter how they have performed and other players who need discipline and guidance. Some players will be going through slumps, others be on top of their game, some will be great members of a team, others will be undermining team spirit and we could go on and on with all the complex demanding scenarios leaders in sport can be faced with. 

The scenarios that we have just described are typical for sport. If sport craves leaders one of the reasons is because sport is varied and complex, and a guiding hand can help bring certainty and clarity. In this masterclass we will explore the skills that help you deal with that uncertainty and complexity. We will outline how a strong bond between team mates, clear values and strong sense of unity can help performance, the importance of effective one-to-one interactions, the challenges of decision-making, and crucial importance of maintaining confidence not just in your team and players but in yourself. Finally, we will try to bring all these elements together and talk about how the skills and behaviours can be brought together ‘in the game’. Throughout we will weave the latest research with examples and illustrations from the sporting world to help you on your leadership journey. 

A leader is someone who can influence a group, or an individual towards a particular goal. And when we talk about leadership it is tempting to reply on examples of inspirational and iconic coaches. But of course leadership is more than a single coach. Coaches often work in management teams with complementary skills and players themselves are leaders. Not just the captains but all players have the potential to influence a group or other team-members towards a particular goal. So a sporting team or organisation is full of potential leaders.  Of course some will have more influence than others but all members of team or sporting organisation have the potential to shape its direction and performance. It is also worth recognising that for many people the traditional view of a leader is someone with power who can manage downwards in a hierarchical fashion. However, all leaders, regardless of stature are also accountable to someone. In a professional club this may be the board, or a director, and of course ultimately the supporters! But all leaders have to manage upwards. This can mean, among other things, communicating the priorities as a leader to employers, understanding the motivation of the employers – what drives them, and keeping employers informed of key organisational developments and issues. All leaders are accountable and judged not only by the people they lead but to those who employ them. This is why leadership is difficult! But it is also rewarding – to create, support and help others achieve their potential is very satisfying. 

So if you are interested in becoming a better leader and realise your potential then this is the course for you. You will find out why leadership styles in sport matter, the sports leadership skills required, and how personal qualities such as enthusiasm in sport leadership are important then visit this page by the end of 2021 for a link to this exciting and transformational course.