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The Role of Coach Leadership in Promoting Athlete Wellbeing and Performance

2021-09-29, Matthews, James, Passmore, David

Leadership behaviour can have a considerable impact on the behaviour, performance and wellbeing of athletes. In this chapter, we will focus on how leadership can influence athlete wellbeing in elite sport. First, using a case study we will outline the challenges in promoting athlete wellbeing observed by a highly experienced coach across different elite sport settings. Then, we will briefly look beyond elite sport to other high performance domains such as the military and emergency medicine. Next, we will examine the role of the leader and leadership behaviours in high performance domains and how it relates to follower wellbeing. In doing so, we will briefly examine the theoretical perspectives of transformational leadership and shared leadership and the empirical literature across selected high performance domains. Reflecting on practices outside of sport and selected leadership theories, we make a number of practical recommendations and propose two theoretically derived interventions to address the athlete wellbeing challenges observed by the coach.