Behaviourism, Constructivism and Sports Coaching Pedagogy: A Conversational Narrative in the Facilitation of Player Learning

in International Sport Coaching Journal

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Simon Roberts Liverpool John Moores University

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Paul Potrac Edge Hill University

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To develop our understanding about how learning theory can help to make sense of and inform the facilitation of player learning, this article presents a fictitious discussion, which takes place following a postgraduate sports coaching lecture on learning theories, pedagogy and practice. Following the lecture, Coach Educator (CE) joins two group members for a coffee to listen to their thoughts, experiences, and coaching practices in relation to pertinent player learning theory. Behaviourist Coach (BC) discusses his approach to coaching and how he has come to coach in this way; and his practices that conform to behaviourist learning theory. When BC has finished sharing his views and practices, CE then invites the other student to contribute to the discussion. Constructivist Coach (CC) recognises that his philosophical beliefs about the facilitation of player learning are vastly different to those of BC. As such, CC decides to share his approach to coaching, which aligns itself with constructivist learning theory. It is hoped that this dialogue will not only further theorise the facilitation of player learning, but do so in a way that helps coaching practitioners make the connection between learning theory and coaching practice.

Simon Roberts is a senior lecturer in Sport and Exercise Pedagogy at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. His research and teaching interests include pedagogy in coaching and coach education. He is a qualified level 3 cricket coach and is currently a course tutor for the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Paul Potrac is professor of Sports Coaching at Edge Hill University, UK. His research and teaching interests focus on exploring the social complexity of sports coaching and coach education, with a particular emphasis on the political and emotional nature of practice.

Address author correspondence to Simon Roberts at

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