Influence of Perceived Physical Literacy on Coaching Efficacy and Leadership Behavior: A Cross-Sectional Study

The concept of physical literacy has evolved to work as a guiding ideology in physical education, physical activity and heath, while little is known for coaching context. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of perceived physical literacy (PPL) in predicting coaching efficacy and leadership behavior from the perceptions of student-athletes in Hong Kong secondary schools. A total of 352 (200 boys, 152 girls) student-athletes (14.78 ± 1.73 years old) participated in this study. Perceived Physical Literacy Instrument (PPLI) for adolescents, Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES) and Leadership Scale for Sport (LSS) for student-athletes were adopted to assess the student-athletes’ self-reported PL, perceptions of coaching efficacy and leadership behavior, respectively. Hierarchical linear regressions revealed that student-athletes’ knowledge and understanding of physical literacy significantly predicted all the dimensions of coaching efficacy (18%-23%, p<0.01) and leadership behavior (15%-27%, p < 0.05) except for autocratic behavior after controlling for the effects of demographic variables (such as age, gender, and training experience). The PPL attribute of Sense of Self and Self-confidence also demonstrated significant predictions with coaching efficacy (17%-19%, p < 0.01), while the PPL attribute of Self-expression and Communication with others only significantly predicted social support behavior (14%, p < 0.05). Path analysis showed PPL of student-athletes has significant predictions to their perceptions of coaches’ leadership and this relationship was partially mediated by their perceptions of coaching efficacy (β = 0.57). Discussion highlights that this study is the first empirical study to explore PPL in the coaching context and its strength in predicting coaching effectiveness. The study provides a new perspective for coaching education programs or coach-oriented interventions by emphasizing the concept of physical literacy.