Leadership in sport and self esteem in adolescent athletes

Anna Maria Mariani


Children and adolescents are in their own way to build personality, as biological, psychological and social characteristics. The environment has an important role for a balanced growth. Settings like school and other educational centers are relevant for youth since in such contexts they spend a large part of their time and have significant experiences with adults and peers. Thus, the influence of teachers and sport coaches in adolescents’ development has to be taken into consideration. It is fundamental for them to have the right instruments to facilitate the balanced growth of young people. The focus of this review is on sport environment and the role of coaches in fostering athletes’ motivation and self esteem. A lot of research show how coach’s behavior has an impact on motivation to do sport but also on building a good level of self-esteem in adolescents. Different types of leadership behavior have been defined and different impacts on self esteem and motivation have been measured. Our review take into consideration the literature on this topic.


leadership, self-esteem, sport motivation, coach, physical activity

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)


Amorose, A.J., Anderson-Butcher, D. (2007). Autonomy-supportive coaching and self-determined motivation in high school and college athletes: A test of self-determination theory. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 8, 654–670.

Amorose, A.J., Horn, T.S. (2001). Pre-to post-season changes in the intrinsic motivation of first year college athletes: Relationships with coaching behavior and scholarship status. J Appl Sport Psychol, 13, 4, 355-373.

Balaguer, I., Duda, J. L., Atienza, F. L., Mayo, C. (2002). Situational and dispositional goals as predictors of perceptions of individual and team improvement, satisfaction and coach ratings among elite female handball teams. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 3, 293-308.

Banack, H.R., Sabiston, C.M., Bloom, G.A.(2011). Coach autonomy support, basic need satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation of paralympic athletes. Res Q Exerc Sport, 82, 4, 722-730.

Barcza-Renner, K., Eklund, R. C., Morin, A. J., Habeeb, C. M. (2016). Controlling coaching behaviors and athlete burnout: Investigating the mediating roles of perfectionism and motivation. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38, 1, 30–44.

Barić, R., Bucik, V. (2009). Motivational differences in athletes trained by coaches of different motivational and leadership profiles. Kinesiology, 41, 2, 181-194.

Bianco, T., Eklund, R. C. (2001). Conceptual considerations for social support research in sport and exercise settings: The case of sport injury. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 23, 85–107.

Birndorf, S., Ryan, S., Auinger, P., Aten, M. (2005). High self-esteem among adolescents: Longitudinal trends, sex differences, and protective factors, Journal of Adolescent Health, 37, 194-201.

Black, S. J., & Weiss, M. R. (1992). The relationship among perceived coaching behaviors, perceptions of ability, and motivation in competitive age-group swimmers. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 14, 309-325.

Borghi, G., Borges P.H., Menegassi, V.M., Rinaldi, G.S.W. (2017). Relationship between preferred leadership style and motivation in young soccer regional players. Journal of Physical Education and Sport (JPES), 17, 4, Art 296, 2599 – 2603.

Branden, N. (1969). The Psychology of Self-Esteem. San Francisco, CA: WH Freeman.

Cengiz, R., Aytan, G.K., Abakay, U. (2012). The relationship between self-efficacy levels and leadership qualities that the taekwondo athlete perceive. E-Journal of New World Sciences Academy, 7, 4, 68-78.

Brustad, R. J., Babkes, M. L., Smith, A. L. (2001). Youth in sport: Psychological considerations. In R. N. Singer, H. A. Hausenblas, & C. M. Janelle (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology, 2nd ed., New York: Wiley, 604–635.

Cervelló, E.M., Escartí, A., Guzmán, J.F. (2007). Youth sport dropout from the achievement goal theory. Psicothema, 19, 1, 65-71.

Chelladurai, P. (1978). A contingency model of leadership in athletics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Waterloo, Canada.

Chelladurai, P. (1990). Leadership in Sports: A Review. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 21, 328-354.

De la Rie, S., Noordenbos, G., Donker, M., Van Furth, E. (2007). The patient’s view on quality of life and eating disorders, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40,13-20.

Chelladurai, P. (1993). Leadership. In R. N. Singer, M. Murphey, & L. K. Tennant (Eds.), Handbook of research on sport psychology , New York: Macmillan, 647-671.

Chelladurai, P. (1999). Human resource management in sport and recreation. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 160.

Chelladurai, P. (2007). Leadership in sports. In G.Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund (Eds.). Handbook of sport psychology, 3rd ed., Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 113–135.

Chiu, W., Rodriguez, F.M., Won, D. (2016). Revisiting the Leadership Scale for Sport: Examining Factor Structure Through Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling, Psychological Reports, 119, 2, 435–449.

Coatsworth, J.D., Conroy, D.E. (2006). Enhancing the self-esteem of youth swimmers through coach training: Gender and age effects, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 7, 173–192.

Coatsworth, J.D., Conroy, D.E. (2009). The Effects of Autonomy-supportive Coaching, Need Satisfaction and Self-Perceptions on Initiative and Identity in Youth Swimmers, Dev Psychol., 45, 2, 320–328.

Crust, L., Azadi, K. (2009). Leadership preferences of mentally tough athletes. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 4, 326-330.

Cruz, A.B., Kim, H.D. (2017). Leadership Preferences of Adolescent Players in Sport: Influence of Coach Gender, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 16, 172-179.

Davis, L., Appleby, R., Davis, P., Wetherell, M., Gustafsson, H. (2018). The role of coach-athlete relationship quality in team sport athletes’ psychophysiological exhaustion: implications for physical and cognitive performance, Journal of Sports Sciences, 36,17, 1985-1992.

Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum

Donnelly, J. (1993). Human Rights, Humanitarian Crisis, and Humanitarian Intervention, International Journal, 48, 4, 607–640.

Duarte, D., Teques, P., Silva, C. (2017). Leadership and satisfaction in soccer: testing congruence with structural equation modeling. Ibero-American Journal of Psychology of Exercise and Sport, 12, 1, 71-82.

Dunham, Y., Baron, A. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2007). Children and social groups: A developmental analysis of implicit consistency in Hispanic Americans. Self and Identity, 6, 238–255.

Ekeland, E., Heian, F., Hagen, K.B. (2005). Can exercise improve self esteem in children and young people? A systematic review of randomised controlled trials, Br J Sports Med, 39, 792–798.

Emler, N. (2001). Self-Esteem: The Costs and Consequences of Low Self-Worth. York, United Kingdom: York Publishing Services.

Fletcher, R. B., Roberts, M. H. (2013). Longitudinal stability of the leadership scale for sports. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 17, 2, 89–104.

Gagné, M., Ryan, R.M., Bargmann, K. (2003). Autonomy support and need satisfaction in the motivation and well-being of gymnasts. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15, 372–390.

Gustafsson, H., DeFreese, J. D., Madigan, D. J. (2017). Athlete burnout: Review and recommendations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 16, 109–113.

Hollembeak, J., Amorose, A.J. (2005). Perceived coaching behaviors and college athletes' intrinsic motivation: A test of self-determination theory. J Appl Sport Psychol, 17, 1, 20-36.

Horn, T. S. (1985). Coaches‘ feedback and changes in children’s perceptions of their physical competence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 174-186.

Horn, T. S. (2002). Coaching effectiveness in the sport domain. In T. S. Horn (Ed.). Advances in Sport Psychology, ed. 2, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 309-354.

Horn, T.S. (2008). Coaching effectiveness in the sport domain. In T.

Horn (Ed.), Advances in Sport Psychology, 3rd ed., Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 239-267.

Hosogi, M., Okada, A., Fujii, K., Noguchi, K., Watanabe, K. (2012). Importance and usefulness of evaluating selfesteem in children, BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 6-9.

Jackson, S.A., Marsh, H.W. (1986). Athletic or antisocial? The female sport experience, Journal of Sport Psychology, 8, 198-211.

Jõesaar, H., Hein, V., Hagger, M.S. (2012). Youth athletes’ perception of autonomy support from the coach, peer motivational climate and intrinsic motivation in sport setting: One-year effects, Psychol Sport Exerc, 13, 3, 257-262.

Jowetta, S., Cockerill, I.M., (2003). Olympic medallists’ perspective of the althlete–coach relationship, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 4, 4, 313-331.

Kent, A., Chelladurai, P. (2001). Perceived transformational leadership, organisational commitment, and citizenship behavior: A case study in intercollegiate athletics, Journal of Sport Management, 15, 135-139.

Kim, H.D., Cruz, A. (2016). The influence of coaches leadership styles on athletes satisfaction and team cohesion: A meta-analytic approach, International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11, 6, 900-909.

Leavitt, P. A., Covarrubias, R., Perez, Y. A., & Fryberg, S. A. (2015). “Frozen in time”: The impact of Native American media representations on identity and self-understanding. Journal of Social Issues, 71, 39–53.

Liu, Y., Wang, Z., Zhou, C., Li, T. (2014). Affect and self-esteem as mediators between trait resilience and psychological adjustment, Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 92-97.

Mageau, G.A., Vallerand, R.J., (2003). The coach–athlete relationship: A motivational model, Journal of Sports Sciences, 21, 11, 883-904.

Mariani, A.M., Marcolongo, F., Melchiori, F.M. (2019). Mental skill training to enhance sport motivation in adolescents, Journal of Physical Education and Sport ® (JPES), 19 (Supplement issue 5), Art 283, 1908-1913.

Mariani, A.M., Marcolongo, F., Melchiori, F.M., Peluso Cassese, F. (2019). L’influenza di interventi di rinforzo dell’autostima sul grado di resilienza in atleti adolescenti, Giornale Italiano di Educazione alla Salute, Sport e Didattica Inclusiva, Anno 3, n. 1, 8-22.

Matosic, D., Cox, A.E., Amorose, A.J. (2014). Scholarship status, controlling coaching behavior, and intrinsic motivation in collegiate swimmers: A test of cognitive evaluation theory. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 3, 1, 1-12.

Michalak, J., Teismann, T., Heidenreich, T., Strohle, G., Vocks, S. (2011). Buffering low self-esteem: The effect of mindful acceptance on the relationship between self-esteem and depression, Psychological Science, 22, 455-460.

Minev, M., Petrova, B., Mineva, K., Petkova, M., Strebkova, R., (2018). Self- Esteem in adolecents. Trakia Journal of Sciences, 2, 114-118.

Mouratidis, A., Lens, W., Vansteenkiste, M. (2010). How you provide corrective feedback makes a difference: the motivating role of communicating in an autonomy-supporting way. J Sport Exerc Psychol, 32, 5, 619-637.

Murray, L.S. (2005). Regulating the risk of closeness: A relationship- specific sense of felt security”, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 74-78.

Nazarudin, A., Fauzee, M.N, Jamalis, MSO., Geok, M., Din, S.K. (2009). Coaching leadership styles and athlete satisfaction among Malaysian University Basketball team, Research Journal of International Studies, 9, 1, 4-11.

Newsom, J. T., Rook, K. S., Nishishiba, M., Sorkin, D. H., & Mahan, T. L. (2005). Understanding the relative importance of positive and negative social exchanges: Examining specific domains and appraisals. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 60, 6, 304–312.

Orth, U., Robins, R.W. (2013). Understanding the link between low self- esteem and depression, Current Directions in Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 751-754.

Ryan, R. M. (1995). Psychological needs and the facilitation of integrative processes. Journal of Personality, 63, 397-427.

Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L. (2002). Overview of self-determination theory: An organismic-dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci & R. M.

Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research, Rochester, NY, US: University of Rochester Press, 3-33.

Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L. (2007). Active Human Nature: Self-Determination Theory and the Promotion and

Maintenance of Sport, Exercise, and Health. In M. S. Hagger, & N. L. D. Chatzisarantis (Eds.), Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Exercise and Sport, Leeds: Human Kinetics Europe Ltd., 1-19.

Reeve, J. (2006). Extrinsic Rewards and Inner Motivation. In C. M. Evertson & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 645–664.

Riemer, H.A. (2007). Multidimensional model of coach leadership. In S. Jowett & D. Lavallee (Eds.), Social Psychology in Sport, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 57-73.

Reinboth, M., Duda, J. L., Ntoumanis, N. (2004). Dimensions of coaching behavior, need satisfaction, and the psychological and physical welfare of young athletes. Motivation and Emotion, 28, 297-313.

Roberts, G. C., Treasure, D. C., Conroy, D. E. (2007). Understanding the dynamics of motivation in sport and physical activity: An achievement goal interpretation. In G. Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 3–30.

Sari, I., Bayazıt, B. (2017). The Relationship Between Perceived Coaching Behaviours, Motivation and Self-Efficacy in Wrestlers, Journal of Human Kinetics, 57/2017, 239-251.

Sarrazin, P.G., Guillet, D.E., Cury, F. (2001). The Effect of Coach's Task- and Ego-Involving Climate on the Changes in Perceived Competence, Relatedness, and Autonomy Among Girl Handballers, European Journal of Sport Science, 1, 4, 1-9.

Sarrazin, P., Vallerand, R., Guillet, E., Pelletier, L., Cury, F. (2002). Motivation and dropout in female handballers: a 21‐month prospective study, European Journal of Social Psychology, 32, 3, 395-418.

Smith, A. L. (1999). Perceptions of peer relationships and physical activity participation in early adolescence. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 21, 329–350.

Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L. (1996). The coach as a focus of research

and intervention in youth sports. In F. L. Smoll & R. E. Smith (Eds.), Children and youth in sport. A biopsychosocial perspective, Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark, 125-141.

Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L. (1990). Self-esteem and children's reactions to youth sport coaching behaviors: A field study of self-enhancement processes. Developmental Psychology, 26, 6, 987–993.

Trzesniewski, K.H., Donnellan, M.B., Smoll, F. L., Smith, R. E., Barnett, N. P., Everett, J. J. (1993). Enhancement of children’s self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 602–610.

Robins, R.W. (2003) Stability of self-esteem across the life span, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 205-220.

Surujlal, J., Dhurup, M. (2012). Athlete preference of coach’s leadership style, African Journal for Physical, Health Education,

Recreation and Dance, 18, 1, 111-121.

Terry, P. (1984). The coaching preferences of elite athletes competing at Universiade ’83. Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences, 9, 201-208.

Trzesniewski, K.H., Donnellan, M.B., Robins, R.W. (2003). Stability of self-esteem across the life span, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 205-220.

Vallerand, R.J. (2007). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport and physical activity. A review an a look at the future. In G. Tenenbaum, & R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of sport psychology, 3rd ed., New York: Wiley,59-83.

Vanhalst, J., Luyckx, K., Scholte, R.H.J., Engels, R.C.M.E., Goossens, L. (2013). Low self-esteem as a risk factor for loneliness in adolescence: Perceived – but not actual – social acceptance as an underlying mechanism, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 1067-1081.

Whitehead, J. R., & Corbin, C. B. (1997). Self-esteem in children and youth: The role of sport and physical education. In K. R. Fox (Ed.), The physical self: From motivation to well-being , Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 175–203.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32043/gsd.v4i3.184


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Giornale Italiano di Educazione alla Salute, Sport e Didattica Inclusiva

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Italian Journal of Health Education, Sports and Inclusive Didactics 
ISSN: 2532-3296