Existing, Experienced and Informed Realities of Sport Coaching through Transformational Leadership

Bruce-Martin, Claire (2022) Existing, Experienced and Informed Realities of Sport Coaching through Transformational Leadership. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This study explores the applied practice setting of sport coaching through the theoretical lens of transformational leadership (TFL), examining the impact of this leadership approach specifically related to tennis coaches. Through embedding a novel, multistage, exploratory, sequential mixed methods design, conducted across three studies, the implementation of an iterative, reflexive research process was enabled supporting an integrative, abductive analysis of the theoretical and empirical data from across the studies. First, existing research from across TFL in sport coaching was systematically reviewed, identifying behavioural, relational, contextual and empirical themes. Specifically concerning integration of the differentiated constructs of TFL theory, the relational permutations of TFL behaviours across appropriately targeted sample populations, additionally the impactful differences evident across contexts varying sports are coached, and equally the opportunity for developing research designs that incorporate experimental, longitudinal, qualitative and mixed methods process, and evidenced outcomes. This highlighted current positioning of the research field through indicative trends, whilst also identifying opportunities for further enquiry, subsequently informing the implementation of an experiential narrative study conducted through use of semi-structured interviews (n=18) with experienced tennis coaches (M=18 years’ experience). Employing reflexive thematic analysis of the tennis coaches’ experiences as leadership figures enabled examination of the patterns identified, as well as the connections between the role of the coach and the specific constructs of TFL, alongside theoretical links to satisfaction of basic needs and mindfulness, culminating in three overarching themes: coaching context, satisfaction, and focus. The subsequent empirical data study utilised three measures (DTLI, BNSSS, MAAS) to further investigate TFL through the associations between tennis coaches and their athletes (n=422), informing a deeper understanding of behavioural, relational, and contextual impacts. The findings from the three studies highlight the current field of TFL in sport coaching research is limited in methodological scope and depth of evidence, which is problematic when attempting to demonstrate authentic transferability and generalisability across TFL in sport coaching research and applied practice contexts more broadly. Equally, awareness of the existing praxis of the differentiated constructs that form the conceptualisation of TFL within sport was limited, leading to the uncovering of complexities concerning enacting theoretical concepts across applied practice settings within tennis. Additionally, both the qualitative and empirical data suggest that satisfaction of basic needs, and the integral facets of mindfulness (awareness and acceptance), were apparent across coach experiences, and positively related to TFL approaches in tennis coaches, as perceived by their athletes. The convergence of these studies provides important insights into the challenges associated with activating TFL in sport coaching, whilst indicating a need for development of a broader range of research designs to support the further evidencing and application of this highly relevant theoretical concept, through authentic engagement and connection with both coaches and their athletes in specifically targeted applied practice settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transformational Leadership, Sport Coaching, Mixed Methods, Tennis
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2022 08:28
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2022 08:30
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50272

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