Coaches' view on how to develop shared leadership capacity in youth team sport

Gerco van Dalfsen (First author), Jo Van Hoecke, Hans Westerbeek, Veerle De Bosscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to investigate coaches' views on developing leadership and shared leadership capacity in particular in competitive youth football.

This qualitative examination focusses on the leadership philosophy of ten male coaches at the sub-elite competitive level in youth football in The Netherlands and applies the theory of shared leadership to examine coaches' views on developing leadership capacity.

Only few coaches have a clear philosophy on the development of leadership in general and/or shared leadership in particular. Most coaches do not have a distinct view on how to involve players in the team processes. Shared leadership development in youth teams occurs occasionally but can be implemented more intentionally.

Research limitations/implications
Although this study lacks generalizability, coaches' views are required in understanding how shared leadership is to be developed in youth sport.

Practical implications
For implementing shared leadership in football purposefully, a clear view on the development of youth is required, whereas coaches need to be taught, how to involve the individual players in team processes such as decision-making. In addition, leadership development in sport may have the potential of transfer of skills to other domains.

Social implications
Learning shared leadership at a young age by athletes can have a positive influence on relationships in teams on micro-level and might have an impact on meso-level within a football club because of its social constructionist approach.

This study is one of the first to apply shared leadership at the micro-level of competitive youth football making use of football coaches' view.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport, business and management : an international journal
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2020


  • coaching
  • youth development
  • shared leadership
  • team sports


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