Leadership behaviour preferences of student-athletes: a comparative study of South Africa and India
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The athlete-coach relationship is a vertical dyadic relationship in which the coach plays a critical leadership role. The direct influence of coaches on their athletes has been widely reported in many studies from various perspectives. These perspectives include sport involvement, enjoyment, and withdrawal, athlete satisfaction; athletes’ physical and psychological status; optimal sport performance; and successful sport performance. The majority of research in sport leadership has focused on the coach, with particular emphasis on personality traits, behavioural attributes, and situational determinants. The current study focuses on a comparison of coach leadership preferences of athletes in South Africa and India. The study used a quantitative research approach using the Leadership Scale for Sport (LSS) to collect data from student-athletes in South Africa and India. There were 221 South African participants with ages ranging between 18 years and 60 years (M = 23.8, SD = 6.0). On the other hand, there were 400 Indian participants with ages ranging between 18 years and 25 years (M = 21.4, SD = 2.1). To analyse data, descriptive statistics in terms of means and standard deviations were computed. Comparisons of different variables between the two countries were determined through computing unpaired samples t-tests. The results revealed that Indian participants had higher mean scores for all the leadership behaviour preferences compared to their South African counterparts. In fact, all the means were statistically significant (p < 0.0001). It is concluded that athletes in India appear not to set the bar too high regarding their preferences and expectations of their coaches compared to South African athletes.