Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Charles Palmer

Commitee Members

Arthur Miller, Bambi Douma


coaching, communication, knowledge of the game, leadership, organization, recruiting, relationship building, sports, success, teamwork, wins/losses


University of Montana


Cocchiarella, Cara, M.S., Spring 2008 Health and Human Performance A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the Key Leadership Skills and Characteristics of Selected Head Collegiate Women’s Basketball Coaches Chairperson: Dr. Charles Palmer Researchers and practitioners alike have long been interested in those key skills and characteristics that a leader must possess in order to be successful in his or her chosen field. Countless studies have been undertaken and books written in business, military, and athletic domains, all trying to determine which of these attributes are the most important for a leader to hold. For coaching applications, an understanding of these skills and characteristics would be helpful for those engaged in self-development or for inclusion in coach education programs and clinics. In order to further the knowledge in this area, qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 head collegiate women’s basketball coaches. The top five most common themes extracted through interviews were communication, relationship building, organization, recruiting, and knowledge of the game. Further examination revealed that these skills and characteristics make up a fairly complete and accurate list of focus areas for coaches wishing to improve or advance in the field. Surveys were then completed by nine of the original 12 head coaches and fourteen of their respective assistant coaches and 88 players from various women’s basketball programs in the Northwest. Quantitative ranking surveys indicated that players and assistant coaches feel that knowledge of the game is the most important skill and/or characteristic possessed by head coaches, while head coaches favored recruiting and relationship building skills. Results also indicated that success is not only defined by wins and losses; other definitions included teamwork or unity and improvement as a group. The results of this study concluded that there is no recipe for success in coaching.



© Copyright 2008 Cara Jo Cocchiarella