“Active” and “Passive” Coach Pathways: Elite Athletes’ Entry Routes Into High-Performance Coaching Roles

in International Sport Coaching Journal
View More View Less
  • 1 Staffordshire University
  • 2 University of Copenhagen
  • 3 Leeds Beckett University
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $41.00

1 year subscription

USD  $54.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $77.00

2 year subscription

USD  $101.00

This study sought to analyse the lived experiences of so-called “fast-tracked” coaches from men’s association football and rugby union by seeking to understand how these individuals prepared for and then transitioned into a post-athletic coaching career. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 male coaches. All participants were former elite athletes and had followed a fast-tracked pathway into their current post-athletic coaching roles. Participants were based in England and had retired from an athletic career within 12 months of being interviewed. Two general categories of “active” and “passive” coach pathways were identified for the career trajectory. Active coaches purposefully prepared for a coaching career during their athletic careers, whereas passive coaches did not. Passive coaches’ decisions to become a coach were often reactive and made after retiring from a competitive athletic career. Results indicate that only the career trajectory of passive coaches reflects a fast-track pathway. None of the active or passive coaches negotiated any formalised recruitment processes into their first post-athletic coaching roles. The suggestion is that prejudicial recruitment practices are enacted by senior club management which creates a homogenous coaching workforce. This furthers the need for greater governance of high-performance coach recruitment within England for these sports.

Blackett is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom. Evans is with the Department of Nutrition, Exercise & Sport, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Piggott is with the Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Alexander David Blackett at alexander.blackett@staffs.ac.uk.
  • Barker-Ruchti, N., Lindgren, E.C., Hofmann, A., Sinning, S., & Shelton, C. (2014). Tracing the career paths of top-level women football coaches: Turning points to understand and develop sport coaching careers. Sports Coaching Review, 3(2), 117131. doi:10.1080/21640629.2015.1035859

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blackett, A.D., Evans, A., & Piggott, D. (2017). Why ‘the best way of learning to coach the game is playing the game’: Conceptualising ‘fast-tracked’ high-performance coaching pathways. Sport, Education and Society, 22(6), 744758. doi:10.1080/13573322.2015.1075494

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2018). “They have to toe the line”: A Foucauldian analysis of the socialisation of former elite athletes into academy coaching roles. Sports Coaching Review. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/21640629.2018.1436502

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blaikie, N. (2009). Designing social research: The logic of anticipation (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Polity.

  • Blair, R., & Capel, S. (2008). Intended or unintended? Issues arising from the implementation of the UK Government’s 2003 Schools Workforce Remodelling Act. Perspectives in Education, 26(2), 105121. Retrieved from https://journals.co.za

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241258). New York, NY: Greenwood.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L.D. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago.

  • Bowes, I., & Jones, R.L. (2006). Working at the edge of chaos: Understanding coaching as a complex, interpersonal system. The Sport Psychologist, 20(2), 235245. doi:10.1123/tsp.20.2.235

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bradbury, S., van Sterkenburg, J., & Mignon, P. (2016). The under-representation and experiences of elite level minority coaches in professional football in England, France and the Netherlands. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(3), 313334. doi:10.1177/1012690216656807

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bringer, J.D., Johnston, L.H., & Brackenridge, C.H. (2004). Maximizing transparency in a doctoral thesis: The complexities of writing about the use of QSR*NVIVO within a grounded theory study. Qualitative Research, 4(2), 247265. doi:10.1177/1468794104044434

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Callary, B., Culver, D., Werthner, P., & Bales, J. (2014). An overview of seven national high performance coach education programmes. International Sport Coaching Journal, 1(3), 152164. doi:10.1123/iscj.2014-0094

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carter, N. (2006). The football manager: A history. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • Cassidy, T., & Rossi, T. (2006). Situating learning: (Re)examining the notion of apprenticeship in coach education. International Journal of Sport Science & Coaching, 1(3), 235246. doi:10.1260/174795406778604591

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christensen, M.K. (2013). Outlining a typology of sports coaching careers: Paradigmatic trajectories and ideal career types among high-performance sports coaches. Sports Coaching Review, 2(2), 98113. doi:10.1080/21640629.2014.898826

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christensen, M.K. (2014). Exploring biographical learning in elite soccer coaching. Sport, Education and Society, 19(2), 204222. doi:10.1080/13573322.2011.637550

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, T. (2009). A social history of English rugby union. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crabbe, T. (2007). Reaching the ‘hard to reach’: Engagement, relationship building and social control in sport based social inclusion work. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2(1–2), 2740. doi:10.1504/IJSMM.2007.011388

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cronin, C., & Armour, K.M. (2015). Lived experience and community sport coaching: A phenomenological investigation. Sport, Education and Society, 20(8), 959975. doi:10.1080/13573322.2013.858625

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cushion, C., Nelson, L., Armour, K., Lyle, J., Jones, R., Sandford, R., & O’Callaghan, C. (2010). Coach learning and development: A literature review. Leeds, UK: Sports Coach UK.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cushion, C.J. (2016). Reflection and reflective practice discourses in coaching: A critical analysis. Sport, Education and Society, 23(1), 8294. doi:10.1080/13573322.2016.1142961

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cushion, C.J., Armour, K.M., & Jones, R.L. (2003). Coach education and continuing professional development: Experience and learning to coach. Quest, 55(3), 215230. doi:10.1080/00336297.2003.10491800

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Denison, J., Mills, J.P., & Konoval, T. (2017). Sports’ disciplinary legacy and the challenge of “coaching differently”. Sport, Education and Society, 22(6), 772783. doi:10.1080/13573322.2015.1061986

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Erickson, K., Bruner, M., MacDonald, D., & Côté, J. (2008). Gaining insight into actual and preferred sources of coaching knowledge. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 3(4), 527538. doi:10.1260/174795408787186468

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Erickson, K., Côté, J., & Fraser-Thomas, J. (2007). Sport experiences, milestones, and educational activities associated with high-performance coaches’ develop. The Sport Psychologist, 21(3), 302316. doi:10.1123/tsp.21.3.302

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ericsson, K.A., Prietula, M.J., & Cokely, E.T. (2007). The making of an expert. The Harvard Business Review, 85(July–August), 114121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferrar, P., Hosea, L., Henson, M., Dubina, N., Kruegar, G., Staff, J., & Gilbert, W. (2018). Building high performance coach-athlete relationships: The USOC’s National Teach Coach Leadership Education Program (NTCLEP), International Sport Coaching Journal, 5(1), 6070. doi:10.1123/iscj.2017-0102

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilbert, W., Côté, J., & Mallett, C. (2006). Developmental paths and activities of successful sport coaches. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 1(1), 6976. doi:10.1260/174795406776338526

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilbert, W., Lichtenwaldt, L., Gilbert, J., Zelezny, L., & Côté, J. (2009). Developmental profiles of successful high school coaches. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 4(3), 415431. doi:10.1260/174795409789623928

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilbert, W.D., & Trudel, P. (2005). Learning to coach through experience: Conditions that influence reflection. Physical Educator, 62(1), 3244.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gratton, C., & Jones, I. (2010). Research methods for sports studies. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis.

  • Hallberg, L.R. (2006). The “core category” of grounded theory: Making constant comparisons. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 1(3), 141148. doi:10.1080/17482620600858399

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, R.L., Armour, K.M., & Potrac, P. (2003). Constructing expert knowledge: A case study of a top-level professional soccer coach. Sport, Education and Society, 8(2), 213229. doi:10.1080/13573320309254

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelly, S. (2008). Understanding the role of the football manager in Britain and Ireland: A Weberian approach. European Sport Management Quarterly, 8(4), 399419. doi:10.1080/16184740802461652

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelly, S., & Harris, J. (2010). Managers, directors and trust in professional football. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 13(3), 489502. doi:10.1080/17430431003588150

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koh, K.T., Mallett, C.J., & Wang, C.K.J. (2011). Developmental pathways of Singapore’s high-performance basketball coaches. International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 9(4), 338353. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2011.623466

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lara-Bercial, S., & Mallett, C.J. (2016). The practices and developmental pathways of professional and Olympic serial winning coaches. International Sport Coaching Journal, 3(3), 221239. doi:10.1123/iscj.2016-0083

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LaVoi, N.M., & Dutove, J.K. (2012). Barriers and supports for female coaches: An ecological model. Sports Coaching Review, 1(1), 1737. doi:10.1080/21640629.2012.695891

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lemyre, F., Trudel, P., & Durand-Bush, N. (2007). How youth-sport coaches learn to coach. The Sport Psychologist, 21(2), 191209. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. doi:10.1123/tsp.21.2.191

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mallett, C.J., Rynne, S.B., & Billett, S. (2016). Valued learning experiences of early career and experienced high-performance coaches. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 21(1), 89104. doi:10.1080/17408989.2014.892062

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGuire, B., & Fenoglio, R. (2004). Football in the community: Resources and opportunities. England: Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mesquita, I., Riberio, J., Santos, S., & Morgan, K. (2014). Coach learning and coach education: Portuguese expert coaches’ perspective. The Sport Psychologist, 28(2), 124136. doi:10.1123/tsp.2011-0117

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mielke, D. (2007). Coaching experience, playing experience and coaching tenure. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 2(2), 105108. doi:10.1260/174795407781394293

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mills, J.P., & Denison, J. (2018). How power moves: A Foucauldian analysis of (in)effective coaching. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(3), 296312. doi:10.1177/1012690216654719

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morrow, S., & Howieson, B. (2014). The new business of football: A study of current and aspirant football club managers. Journal of Sport Management, 28(5), 515528. doi:10.1123/jsm.2013-0134

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morrow, S., & Howieson, B. (2018). Learning to be a professional football manager: A Bourdieusian perspective. Managing Sport and Leisure. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/23750472.2018.1452629

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nash, C.S., & Sproule, J. (2009). Career development of expert coaches. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 4(1), 121138. doi:10.1260/1747-9541.4.1.121

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Norman, L. (2010). Feeling second best: Elite women’s coaches’ experiences. Sociology of Sport Journal, 27(1), 89104. doi:10.1123/ssj.27.1.89

  • Parnell, D., Stratton, G., Drust, B., & Richardson, D. (2013). Football in the community schemes: Exploring the effectiveness of an intervention in promoting healthful behaviour change. Soccer & Society, 14(1), 3551. doi:10.1080/14660970.2012.692678

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Potrac, P., Jones, R.L., & Armour, K.L. (2002). ‘It’s all about getting respect’: The coaching behaviours of an expert English soccer coach. Sport, Education and Society, 7(2), 183202. doi:10.1080/1357332022000018869

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Purdy, L. (2014). Interviews. In L. Nelson, R. Groom, & P. Potrac (Eds.), Research methods in sports coaching (pp. 161170). London, UK: Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Purdy, L., & Potrac, P. (2016). Am I just not good enough? The creation, development and questioning of a high performance coaching identity. Sport, Education and Society, 21(5), 778795. doi:10.1080/13573322.2014.941795

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rynne, S.B. (2014). ‘Fast track’ and ‘traditional path’ coaches: Affordances, agency and social capital. Sport, Education and Society, 19(3), 299313. doi:10.1080/13573322.2012.670113

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rynne, S.B., Mallett, C.J., & Tinning, R. (2006). High performance sport coaching: Institutes of sport as sites for learning. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 1(3), 223234. doi:10.1260/174795406778604582

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rynne, S.B., Mallett, C.J., & Tinning, R. (2010). Workplace learning of high performance sports coaches. Sport, Education and Society, 15(3), 315330. doi:10.1080/13573322.2010.493312

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saunders, B., Kitzinger, J., & Kitzinger, C. (2015). Anonymising interview data: Challenges and compromise in practice. Qualitative Research, 15(5), 616632. doi:10.1177/1468794114550439

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schempp, P.G., McCullick, B.A., Grant, M.A., Foo, C., & Wieser, K. (2010). Professional playing experience does not lead to professional coaching success. International Sport Coaching Journal, 3(3), 7282.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sherwin, I., Campbell, M.J., & MacIntyre, T.E. (2017). Talent development of high performance coaches in team sports in Ireland. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(3), 271278. doi:10.1080/17461391.2016.1227378

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, B., & McGannon, K.R. (2018). Developing rigor in qualitative research: Problems and opportunities within sport and exercise science. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11(1), 101121. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2017.1317357

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sparkes, A.C., & Smith, B. (2009). Judging the quality of qualitative inquiry: Criteriology and relativism in action. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10(5), 491497. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2009.02.006

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sparkes, A.C., & Smith, B. (2014). Qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health: From process to product. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and technique (2nd ed.). London, UK: Sage.

  • Tacon, R. (2007). Football and social inclusion: Evaluating social policy. Managing Leisure, 12(1), 123. doi:10.1080/13606710601056422

  • Thomas, D.R. (2017). Feedback from research participants: Are member checks useful in qualitative research? Qualitative Research in Psychology, 14(1), 2341. doi:10.1080/14780887.2016.1219435

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tracy, S.J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 837851. doi:10.1177/1077800410383121

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Union of European Football Associations. (2015). Coaching convention: 2015 edition. Retrieved from https://www.uefa.org/multimediafiles/download/uefaorg/coachingcoachedu/02/29/42/76/2294276_download.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wacquant, L. (1992). Toward a social praxeology: The structure and logic of Bourdieu’s sociology. In P. Bourdieu & L. Wacquant (Eds.), An invitation to reflexive sociology (pp. 160). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watson, N. (2000). Football in the community: ‘What’s the score?’ Soccer & Society, 1(1), 114125. doi:10.1080/14660970008721253

  • Watts, D.W., & Cushion, C.J. (2017). Coaching journeys: Longitudinal experiences from professional football in Great Britain. Sports Coaching Review, 6(1), 7693. doi:10.1080/21640629.2016.1238135

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Werthner, P., & Trudel, P. (2009). Investigating the idiosyncratic paths of elite Canadian coaches. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 4(3), 433449. doi:10.1260/174795409789623946

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 483 418 28
Full Text Views 29 23 2
PDF Downloads 16 14 1