Identity Leadership in Youth Cricket: What Does it Mean, and How Can You benefit?
Many youth cricket teams find it hard to bring all players together. How often do you notice mini clusters of players forming within your team? Of course, everyone has different interests, so getting everyone on the same page can be difficult!
But what do the most successful cricket teams do to bring their teammates together, build resilience, and develop performance? Well, leaders within these teams work hard to create a sense of shared identity between all members of the group to make sure everyone is working towards the same common goal. This is called identity leadership.
What does identity leadership mean?
Identity leadership involves creating, embodying, advancing, and implementing a groups shared sense of identity (Fransen et al., 2022). The ability to create a shared group identity can help leaders motivate and direct the energies of their team members.
How can it benefit my team?
Athletes who identify strongly with their team are more likely to encourage team effort and development, rather than social comparison, as they tend to prioritise the team’s common goals ahead of their own (Fransen et al., 2022).
Teams that encourage effort and teamwork on group tasks view setbacks as a natural part of development, meaning players work together to overcome obstacles.
Several studies have shown that team resilience is associated with higher team performance! Therefore, building a strong group identity helps players to develop team resilience and can improve overall performance.
How can it help me?
Identity leadership by coaches and players has been shown to have a significant positive impact on athletes’ well-being (Fransen et al., 2020). Indeed, those who identify strongly with their team tend to display greater mental health and well-being, and a reduced risk of burnout.
Athletes who lead the group can have a motivational influence on their team members to display higher levels of effort on team tasks. In addition, the higher well-being levels of athletes who identify strongly with their team has been shown to lead to increased performance.
How can I become a great team leader?
- Create: Work with your teammates to clarify who you are as a team, and what you stand for, to create a sense of shared group identity.
- Embody: Lead by example by sticking to the values that define what it means to be a member of your team.
- Advance: Always try to promote the teams’ values and goals between all members to develop your shared group identity.
- Embed: Plan group activities and events that bring the team together to create team boundaries and promote teamwork.
Take part in an international research study exploring identity leadership in youth cricket!
Benjamin Jeffery, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University, is recruiting youth cricketers from U12 – U17 to take part in an online study to explore identity leadership and well-being in youth sport.
Who can take part?
Youth cricket players from U12 to U17 teams.
To take part, all players have to do is complete the online survey. Parental/guardian consent must be provided at the start of the survey, then players can complete the rest!
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Fransen, K., Boen, F., Haslam, S. A., McLaren, C. D., Mertens, N., Steffens, N. K., & Bruner, M. W. (2022). Unlocking the power of ‘us’: Longitudinal evidence that identity leadership predicts team functioning and athlete well-being. Journal of Sports Sciences, 40(24), 2768–2783. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2023.2193005
Fransen, K., McEwan, D., & Sarkar, M. (2020). The impact of identity leadership on team functioning and well-being in team sport: Is psychological safety the missing link? Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 51, 101763. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101763
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Morgan, P. B., Fletcher, D., & Sarkar, M. (2017). Recent developments in team resilience research in elite sport. Current Opinion in Psychology, 16, 159–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.05.013