Anna Maria Mariani, Luigi Piceci, Francesco Maria Melchiori


The study investigates the relationship between coaches’ leadership styles and the level of self-esteem and sport motivation in adolescent athletes in a sample of adolescent athletes (n=85 considering different sports) and their coaches (n=10). Previous literature about the youth population suggests that contextual factors can have an important influence on the effects of the sport, e.g. the relations with adults and peers (Brustad, Babkes & Smith, 2001) or the sports program one takes part to (Whitehead & Corbin, 1997). In this research, the coaches’ leadership style was taken into consideration because it has an important influence on athletes’ self-perceptions (Coatsworth & Conroy, 2009). Scientific studies demonstrate that a more supportive, nurturing and encouraging leadership behaviour produce greater changes in youth’s self-esteem (Coatsworth & Conroy, 2006; Smith & Smoll, 1996). Additional evidence showed how the coach’s behaviour influence athletes’ motivation (Amorose & Anderson-Butcher, 2007; Gagné, Ryan & Bargmann, 2003). The results of the data analysis show a strong positive correlation between athletes' self-esteem and coach’s Training & Instruction behaviour and a negative relationship between self-esteem and lack of motivation in athletes. Besides, from a larger sample of coaches (n = 49) the relationship between the coach’s leadership behaviour and his own level of self-esteem was investigated (Rosenberg SES, Prezza et al., 1997). The results highlighted higher levels of Training & Instruction, Autocratic, Social Support and Positive Feedback behaviours in coaches with an average level of self-esteem compared to those with low levels.


Self-esteem, leadership style, adolescence, sport motivation, coach

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