High school student-athletes’ perceptions and experiences of leadership as a life skill

Pierce, S., Erickson, K. and Sarkar, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-8338-8500, 2020. High school student-athletes’ perceptions and experiences of leadership as a life skill. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 51: 101716. ISSN 1469-0292

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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to gain student-athlete perceptions of: (1) the definition of leadership for high school student-athletes; (2) the process of leadership development in high school sport; and (3) the factors that have helped or hindered leadership transfer between high school sport and other life domains.

Design: This study was grounded in an interpretivist ontological perspective and used focus group interviews to gather insights of student-athletes’ leadership experiences.

Method: Purposeful sampling identified 33 high-school student-athlete leaders who were members of student advisory councils for high school state athletic associations in the United States. The 15 females and 18 males participated in focus-group interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis of the interview data was then conducted.

Results: Results revealed that student-athlete leadership was viewed as a skill-set and a mindset, driven by individual agency. As an on-going developmental process, student-athletes gained awareness of leadership skills, increased self-expectations and self-confidence in their use and application of leadership skills, and developed a transformational leadership mindset, as they encountered and engaged with critical learning opportunities in high school sport and gained support from coaches and peers. Leadership application outside of sport was a multidimensional psychological process, including both conscious and implicit elements, and facilitated or constrained by environmental opportunities and social influences.

Conclusions: High school sport offers a unique context where self-agentic youth leadership development in sport and life can occur through experiential learning opportunities. To this point, future research directions and recommendations for practitioners will be provided.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Student-athlete development
Publication Title: Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Creators: Pierce, S., Erickson, K. and Sarkar, M.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: November 2020
Volume: 51
ISSN: 1469-0292
S1469029220300674Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 23 Jun 2020 09:58
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2021 03:00
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40080

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