4 Leadership Roles for Athletes

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coaches corner

Here is something to chew on as a coach, parent, or athlete that supplements the post on leadership in youth sports. Leadership is an often discussed and important element to sports, but not focused on enough, trained into our athletes, or understood well by parents and coaches. This perspective here adds some texture to the understanding of different kinds of leaders and their roles.

Strong athlete leadership increases team identification and confidence, cohesion, resilience, and overall performance. Leadership on a team is best shared between multiple people each with their own strengths. This creates a shared horizontal and upward trajectory rather than a traditional top-down leadership approach.

The Four Leadership Roles

Task Leader
On the field advice, decision making and focus on team goals.

Motivational Leader
Encourages teammates and manages emotions to maximize performance.

Social Leader
Promotes good relationships on and off the field, helps with conflicts, and is trusted by others.

External Leader
Link between the team and external systems, represents the team to management.

Do you recognize your athlete(s) in this list? What do you think?

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