This study will examine how athletics helps to develop leadership qualities. This issue is important because of the emphasis on sports in modern society, and, therefore, both young and older athletes learn many lessons about life and behavior from sports. It is also crucial to differentiate between the emphasis on winning that is so prevalent at every level of sports today, and the leadership which transcends victory or defeat. By "leadership," this study will refer to those qualities which drive an individual to excel himself or herself, but which also drives that individual to help and inspire others to reach their potential as well in a team-oriented, cooperative atmosphere. An excellent player will always want to excel, but an effective leader must practice and instill in others on the team the desire to excel as a team, not merely as a group of individuals. In addition, the study will necessarily focus on team sports, not individual sports, for the basis of leadership is the relationship between the leader and those he leads.
The role of the coach is vital in instilling leadership in his players, just as the leader of the team instills a sense of teamwork in his fellow players. The same guidelines leading the coach also guide a player-leader:
If you do your homework and communicate the rules well to your team, your players won't be caught unaware in games. In the eyes of your players, your credibility will also increase if they are confident of your knowledge of the rules (American 63).
In other words, a sport is first and foremost an activity controlled by rules. A player may be far more skilled than others, but if he does not know the rules of the game, he will never be a leader, just as a coach cannot lead, or inspire a player to be a leader, if he does not know the rules of the game, or the basic techniques needed to play the game. This knowledge is important not only for the sake of winning games, which can tur...