Leadership behaviors in sport
In this post, we will look at a study that followed the famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Wooden won 10 collegiate championships in his role as a coach. Tharp and Gallimore(1976) looked to identify what made Wooden so successful at leading his team to these championship titles.
The focused on researching his behaviors during practices and games, they recorded 30hrs of video footage so they could review his actions and identify his behaviors.
Tharp and Gallimore identified 10 categories of behavior that Wooden exhibited. Most of his behaviors involved giving instruction and the encouragement of intensity and effort.
A break down of his coaching showed that he spent;
- 50% of his time giving verbal instruction. ( it was noted that he spent no longer than giving 5 seconds of instruction, yet it was so clear it left an image like from a book in the player’s minds)
- 12.7% was spent hustling players to intensify instruction.
- 8% was in scolding and reinstructing the players
- 6.9% in praising and encouraging
- 6.6% in simple statements of displeasure.
The focus on giving instruction and information over giving praise and scolding is consistent with more recent studies in coaching research. (Gilbert, 2002; Gilbert and Trudel 2004).
Wooden emphasised effort over winning and noted the most important thing was for the players to try their best because that’s all they could do.
Next, we will look at the Interactional approach.