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Abstract

Athletes fulfill both on the field (task) and off the field (social) team roles. For this reason, recent research on athlete leadership has concluded there is no one best type of athlete leader. In the current study, role differentiation theory was applied to investigate how peers perceive teammate leadership roles and behaviors within a women’s lacrosse program at a NCAA Division I university. Each player (N = 30) participated in a survey in which they were tasked with rating every teammate on the following leadership behaviors: technical, interpersonal, and contagious energy. Individual player attributes of were also considered in the analysis of a cross-classified nested model that resulted in 870 total ratings that predicted overall athlete leadership. Results suggest behaviors of technical, interpersonal, and contagious energy all impact the perception of teammates’ overall leadership. Coaches and athletes can use these results to be reassured that both on field and off field leadership behaviors are important for athlete leadership development. Furthermore, a discussion of how behaviors of social roles and leadership behaviors can be transferable for athletes’ in life after sport is discussed.

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