Choppy Waters: Elite Rowers’ Perceptions of Coaching

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Laura G. PurdyUniversity of Worcester

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Robyn L. JonesUniversity of Wales Institute

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The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between elite rowers and their coaches. We were particularly interested in how the rowers constructed and negotiated the interactions and pedagogical actions of the coaches. Drawing upon participant observation and the principal researcher’s reflexive journal, data were collected over a five-month period while ten rowers participated in a preparatory training camp for subsequent selection to compete at upcoming major events. The data were analyzed inductively (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). The findings demonstrate the importance of social expectations within the coaching context. Such expectations have to be at least partially met if the coaching “contract” is to be honored (Jones, 2009). Not doing so, puts at risk the respect of athletes, without which coaches simply cannot operate (Potrac, Jones & Armour, 2002).

Purdy is with the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester. Henwick Grove, Worcester, UK. Jones is with the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Cardiff School of Sport, Cyncoed Campus, Cardiff, UK.

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