Despite the well-known positive consequences of transformational coaches in sport, there is still little research exploring the mechanisms through which coaches' transformational leadership exerts its impact on athletes. Multilevel SEM was used to examine the relationship between coaches' transformational leadership style, a task-involving climate, and leadership effectiveness outcome criteria (i.e., players' extra effort, coach effectiveness, and satisfaction with their coach), separately estimating between and within effects. A representative sample of 625 Spanish male soccer players ranging from 16 to 18 years old and nested in 50 teams completed a questionnaire package tapping the variables of interest. Results confirmed that at the team level, team perceptions of transformational leadership positively predicted teams' perceptions of task climate, which in turn positively predicted the three outcome criteria. At the individual level, players' perceptions of transformational leadership positively predicted teams' perceptions of task climate, which in turn positively predicted teams' extra effort and coach effectiveness. Mediation effects appeared at the team level for all the outcome criteria, and at the individual only for extra effort. Transformational leadership is recommended to enhance task climate, in order to increase players' extra effort, their perceptions of the effectiveness of their coach, and their satisfaction with his/her leadership style.
Keywords: junior players; motivational climate; multilevel SEM; soccer; transformational leadership.