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The purpose of this research was to: (a) describe the coaching process using language that is meaningful for practicing coaches; (b) explain how different coaches maneuver through the process of coaching; and (c) probe the paradoxical nature of the coaching process. Data gathered over a 6-month period with eight high school team sport coaches in the United States representing six different sport contexts, revealed three foundational paradoxes. Based on the results, coaching is best viewed as the convergence of three paradoxical forces: the paradox of authenticity, the paradox of purpose, and the pendulum paradox. The paper closes with the suggested definition of sports coaching: Coaching is the process of utilizing an intentional philosophic approach to simultaneously teach, motivate, and organize an athlete to attain higher levels of success over time.
Barnson is with the Division of Educational Outreach University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Address author correspondence to Steven Barnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.