The Journal of SPORT


Aside from coaches, athletes hold leadership roles amongst their teams (Loughead et al., 2006), and leadership behaviors often relate to cohesion (e.g., Shields, Gardner, Bredemeier, & Bostro, 1997; Vincer & Loughead, 2010). There are two main types of athlete leaders that have been identified: formal and informal athlete leaders. Vincer and Loughead (2010) discuss that in order to gain a conceptual picture of athlete leadership, these two types of athlete leaders must be examined independently unlike past literature, which has focused on athlete leaders as a general group. The present research examined the differences between formal and informal athlete leadership behaviors, the gender differences, and the relationship that leadership behaviors have with cohesion. Seventy-four varsity male and female college basketball players completed the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ; Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985), the Leadership Scale for Sport (LSS; Challadurai & Saleh, 1980) modified for formal athlete leaders, and the LSS modified for informal athlete leaders. A paired-samples t-test revealed significant differences between formal and informal athlete leaders on leadership behaviors, and a Pearson-product moment correlation revealed significant correlations between athlete leadership behaviors and cohesion. These results could benefit coaches by increasing their understanding of athlete leaders, allowing them to more effectively select or appoint athlete leadership.