This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Coaching Leadership Style Preferences of Female Professional Basketball Players




Tremitiere, Chantel

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


In athletics, every athlete on any team prefers different behaviors from their coach. Previous research has not been able to articulate player preferences regarding their preferred coaching behaviors and if their coaches are meeting those behaviors. This study examined the coaching leadership style preferences of female professional basketball players. Based on the Multidimensional Model of Leadership (MML) conceptual framework, which suggests that the outcome of a team is based on how leader behavior is correlated to athlete preferred leader behaviors, this study examined coaching leadership style preferences of two player groups (current, retired), and explored the relationship of five independent variables among the players. In order to examine this question, current and retired female professional basketball players athletes from the Women's' National Basketball Association (WNBA) and International Basketball Federation (FIBA) were surveyed using the Leadership Scale for Sport (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980). A quantitative research design was used to address three research questions. The Leadership Scale for Sport (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980) was administered to 234 female professional basketball players from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). A statistical analysis of the interaction between the athletes and their coaches was used to determine if leadership behavior needs to be adjusted when coaching female professional basketball players. iv Survey data was analyzed through MANOVA and descriptive analysis. After reviewing prior research, results are expected to show that athletes prefer coaches who include players in decision making, focus on improving skills, and cultivate a positive coach-athlete relationship. Two hundred thirty-four female professional basketball players responded to the survey. Results revealed that athletes preferred a coach who works on improving their skills and building a relationship with them. Specifically, players in this study prefer a Training and Instruction Leadership Style coach, regardless of demographic information. The study also showed that the athletes prefer a coach who includes the team when making decisions. There was no relationship between coaching leadership style preferences and ethnicity of the athletes. This study seemed to offer concrete evidence on coaching leadership style preferences of female professional basketball players and how trait, behavioral and situational leadership theories can define the coaches’ role. However, future studies can examine the impact that a coach’s style can have on the behavior of athlete as well as analyze the relationship between preferred and actual behavior exhibited by coaches in professional women's basketball.