What factors contribute to make a good leader and how might your style of leadership vary to be successful when involved in individual, racket and team activities? This essay will discuss leadership in sports – individually and in a team. It will talk about the three specific styles of leadership and include different reasons why leadership is vital in sports activities. The essay will also consist of leadership among team sports, racket sports and individual sports. It will also include current sporting examples for each sport discussed.
Leadership is a key role in sport. Without it teams would just be a group of people without any purpose. Leadership varies on each sport that is played. To help a team to achieve its goals, motivating them can lead to success. Leadership in sports is shown in many different forms; as a leader could be seen as a person from within the team. This could include the captain, coach or even a player. Unofficial leaders have key roles in training of sports players, but do not have a proper status.
Leaders are not always accepted as a figure of authority. An example of this is David Beckham. There was an immense pressure for him to help lead the England football team to victory. However as he failed, he resigned as captain, and is no longer on the England squad. He can make play happen but on the pitch, he does not show authority as a leader. Unlike Liverpool’s captain Steven Gerrard, he shows authority and leadership when on the pitch, by communicating with his team mates whilst playing. Steven Gerrard is one of the most successful captains at Liverpool F.C because he can motivate his team to do well and win. A prime example of this is Liverpool FC vs. AC Milan in the Champions League Final. Steven Gerrard motivated his team that they could win; he gave them something to believe in, which resulted in Liverpool scoring. As a result of a great team effort, Liverpool became the champions of Europe.
Another example of an unofficial leader is Wayne Rooney. He is not the captain of the England football team but he provides a key role amongst the team. He is an indispensable figure for not only the England team, but for his club team – Manchester United. Due to injury and lack of fitness, Rooney hasn’t played that well for England. He is often on the substitute bench and is put on the pitch when his coach (Steve McClaren) feels that the team could use a person orientated leader. A fellow club team mate explained in an interview how Rooney always brought a positive attitude on and off the pitch said,
“Wayne is a fantastic character on the pitch, that is obvious, anyone can see that,” said Solskjaer. “But it is the same off the pitch too. In training or in the dressing room, he is always positive. He is always talking football and he has always got the right attitude towards training. That will carry on throughout his career.” (Source from http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/16102006/4/ferguson-worry-rooney.html)
Another example of an unofficial leader is India’s cricket player Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin Tendulkar is not India’s captain, however he performs so well in the game by scoring a large amount of runs, and he provides motivation and hope for the team, which is a captains role. Unlike Rahul Dravid, who despite does not always score many runs is an iconic figure in the Indian team. He motivates and gives players belief by not always performing greatly, but by talking to them and giving them belief.
There are two types of leaders; task orientated and person orientated. Task orientated leaders have good activity and are skillful. They are people who are natural leader because of the experience and good understanding they hold and knowledge of what is expected to do well in the sport. Professional level leaders are fluent, consistent and are athletically able. This is known as being autonomous. An example of this is a football manager. He decides what the best options/tactics for the team are against another team because of experience, either from coaching, or being a player themselves.
A person orientated leader gets along with the team. He/she can recognize the skills of the individuals and how they can be used to help the team to excel. He/she can pull people and tasks together to help become completed, for example, to score a goal and turn the game round from losing 2-0 to winning 3-2. In order to be a personal orientated leader it is vital that he/she can fulfil these characteristics. Firstly, to be capable in controlling people and events, this would include co-coordinating tactics and motivational strategies.Secondly, in order to become a good leader, a clear relationship between the individuals and the leader needs to be established and this idea of respect needs to be obtained in order for the leader to co-ordinate team efforts.
Thirdly, a person orientated leader has to be quick in identifying problems and solutions, providing the team with the agenda and clarifying objectives. Communication between the leader and team is essential, although these leaders should not dominate in discussions allowing the team to participate as often and confidently as they can. An optimistic leader is proved to have a positive impact on the team. Another example of a person orientated leader is a football manager. Football managers have to be extremely good at recognizing potential within the team. They also have to be quick at identifying problems e.g. maybe the defence is all over the place and the strikers are sitting back to much. Managers in football that are very good person orientated leaders are people such as Martin O’Neal, Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez.