University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Christian sports coaches and servant leadership

Vinson, Don ORCID: and Parker, A. (2020) Christian sports coaches and servant leadership. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 16 (2). pp. 304-316. ISSN 1747-9541 (print) 2048-397X (eISSN)

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The world of competitive sport can present a challenging environment for Christian athletes and coaches. The culture of competitive sport, and particularly the attitude to winning, can cause athletes and coaches to question how their Christian faith should shape participation and/or whether they should participate at all. Few empirical studies have explored how Christian coaches frame their practice to align with their faith and reconcile the potential contradictions and challenges of coaching within competitive sporting environments. That said, there has been a recent increase in the number of studies exploring the potential relationship between sports coaching and the concept of servant leadership – a framework which is commensurate with a Christian world view. The aim of this paper is to contribute to these debates by presenting empirical evidence to explore the philosophies, intended practices and sociocultural factors influencing how Christian coaches sought to lead in competitive sporting environments. One hundred and ten coaches (female = 24, male = 86) completed an online qualitative questionnaire which explored their beliefs about leadership and coaching practice. This paper considers the ways in which Christian coaches’ might seek to frame their leadership behaviours within the context of competitive sport and how their approaches might align, or otherwise, with the theoretical tenets of servant leadership.

Item Type: Article
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The final published version of this article can be accessed via the official URL and is available to download from this record. article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: coaching philosophy, faith, religion, spirituality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open access article
SWORD Depositor: Prof. Pub Router
Depositing User: Don Vinson
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 12:37
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 11:45

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