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Bridging Boundaries Between Life and Sport: Exploring Sports Coaches’ Micro Role Transitions

Paul A. Davis, Faye F. Didymus, Scott Barrass, and Louise Davis

Coach education notes the importance of effective transitions between life and sport, yet research evidence supporting coaches to make such transitions is lacking. The present study used a mixed-methods design to explore 41 highly qualified coaches’ perceptions of how responsibilities in life beyond sport spill over to coaching practice. Additionally, we examined coaches’ transitions between roles in life and sport and the implications for their health and coaching practice. Coaches completed questionnaires measuring perceived stress and emotion regulation, and a writing task about how roles outside of sport impacted their coaching practice. Linguistic analyses using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software revealed that coaches with lower levels of perceived stress expressed more positive emotions when writing about the influence of life commitments on their coaching practice. The findings also suggest that coaches’ perceptions of the coaching process can be both positively and negatively influenced by life commitments spilling over into sport. Further, coaches reported challenges with the process of undertaking micro role transitions and highlighted implications for their mental health, coaching effectiveness, and relationships in both sport and life. Integrating organizational and sport psychology research, we offer guidance to optimize coaches’ transitions between roles to promote health and optimal performance.

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A Foucauldian Autoethnographic Account of a Male Former Soccer Player’s Move to Coaching Female Players: A Call to Problematize the Importation of Gendered Assumptions During a Common Coaching Transition

Luke Jones and Zoe Avner

It has frequently been observed that the disproportionate number of male coaches within women’s soccer is problematic, not least, because it limits the opportunities for the progression of female coaches. Despite this, the transition from “male former player to male coach of female players” is one that remains common, is likely to continue, yet is not widely discussed in the sport/coach transition literature. This is an oversight given the numerous problematic outcomes that are routinely connected to the presence of male coaches in women’s sport. In this confessional, analytical autoethnography, we build upon our existing work regarding coaching women’s soccer that has been informed by Michel Foucault’s conceptual framework. Precisely, we use a collection of creative narrative reflections to discuss the first author’s transition from that of a British semiprofessional soccer player context, to an Assistant Coach of a female soccer team in a North American varsity program. In so doing, we trace and map some of the (problematic) learned gendered assumptions which initially shaped and guided the first author’s coaching assumptions, relationships, approaches, and practices within this context, before unpacking some of the challenges he navigated along the way (with varying degrees of success). We end by summarizing our paper and a call to male coaches working with female athletes to reflect on how “thinking with Foucault” might help them to coach in more ethical and gender-responsive ways by both problematizing imported gendered assumptions and developing active allyship practices.

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Erratum. What Is Known About Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Among Sport Coaches? A Scoping Review

International Sport Coaching Journal

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Factors Influencing Power-5 Football Coaches’ Recruiting Responsibilities: The Intersection of Race, Role, and Geography

Chris Corr, Christopher Atwater, Allison D. Anders, and Sarah Stokowski

Football Bowl Subdivision football success (i.e., winning) is predicated on the ability to successfully recruit prospective athletes. Reflective of NCAA rules and regulations, assistant (i.e., position) coaches are relied upon to secure the enrollment of prospective athletes. Extant literature has established that Black position coaches are tasked with greater recruiting responsibilities than their White counterparts. Such tasking is indicative of a structural barrier limiting Black coaches’ opportunities for professional advancement. The present study sought to examine recruiting responsibilities among position coaches relative the demography of unique geographic areas they were assigned to recruit. Findings illustrate disproportionate responsibilities among racially dissimilar coaches.

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Who Coaches the Coaches? Exploring the Biographies of Novice Athletics Coach Education Tutors

David Stephens, Anna Stodter, and Matthew Timmis

Despite coach education being a focus of academic inquiry for over 20 years, coach developers (e.g., tutors) have been neglected from the literature until recently. In recognizing and understanding the role of the tutor in delivering quality learning programs for sport coaches, it is also important to consider who tutors are and how biographical factors influence their development toward expertise. This article utilizes Grenier and Kehrhahn’s Model of Expertise Redevelopment as a tool to aid understanding of the transition from sport coaching to tutoring. Narrative interviews were used with seven novice athletics coach education tutors embarking on a “fast-track” tutor development program. Data were subject to narrative thematic analysis and presented as composite vignettes. The vignettes portray six common themes highlighting that becoming a coach education tutor is a lifelong process of episodic experiences. The features of novice tutors’ biographies are a useful starting point in evidencing the development of expertise. These findings could be used to inform tutor recruitment and training. The current study adds to the emerging body of literature by providing one of the first empirical accounts exploring the developmental experiences of novice coach education tutors.

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The Nature of Sports Coach Development in China: What Are We Trying to Achieve?

Shiyang Li, Howie J. Carson, and Dave Collins

Coach education and continuing career development have become a significant focus of global discussion within the sport domain. Current mainstream strategies for developing and assessing coaches in most countries, including China, are based on competency-based systems. However, there are many shortcomings of this system, especially when considering the varied practical challenges and needs of coaches and athletes; in short, such an approach does not facilitate enough adaptability. The purpose of this article is to critically review the literature, exploring both competence- and expertise-based coach development systems and their implications for coaching practice in China. First, we introduce and discuss the competency-based approach, including its strengths and weaknesses and how this applies within the Chinese development system. Next, we introduce and evaluate an alternative, expertise-based development system characterized by adaptability and greater inclusiveness within the coaching domain, which is underpinned by a distinct set of cognitive decision-making skills from the coach’s perspective. In addition, we expand this discussion by explaining the implications of this approach for coach assessment and offer some future suggestions for research in this area.

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What Is Known About Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Among Sport Coaches? A Scoping Review

Karin Hägglund, Göran Kenttä, Christopher R.D. Wagstaff, and Marte Bentzen

Mindfulness and self-compassion are two constructs positively related to well-being and mental health outside sport. Within sport, these constructs are emerging in research, yet the extant work has primarily been conducted with athlete samples. The aim of this scoping review was to provide a broad synthesis of the literature on mindfulness and self-compassion among coaches. Fourteen articles were included, 11 of them published 2019–2022. Of the 14 publications, the concepts studied were mindfulness (n = 10), self-compassion (n = 2), and a combination of both (n = 2). The samples were predominantly male coaches (68.7%), and most of the studies targeted coaches at the elite or competitive level. The most common area studied was developing and testing interventions and programs, followed by depicting relationships of mindfulness or self-compassion with desirable outcomes. This review significantly extends the current knowledge by illuminating critical issues in this rapidly moving area of research; the need for conceptual and contextual clarity of mindfulness and self-compassion; methodological considerations, such as measures that may allow reliable comparison across studies; and the need to further explore the potential benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion for coaches for sustainability and performance.

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Volume 11 (2024): Issue 1 (Jan 2024)

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A Case Study Analysis of the Coach–Athlete Dyad in Different Age Grade Nonelite Rugby Union Teams

Kevin Smith, Con Burns, Cian O’Neill, Noreen Quinn, John D. Duggan, Nick Winkelman, Matthew Wilkie, and Edward K. Coughlan

The coach–athlete dyad is complex where both parties can often have contrasting perceptions of each other. The purpose of this research was to examine coaching behaviors and perceptions of the coach–athlete relationship across different age grades of rugby football union. Coaches (n = 5) and athletes (n = 78) from three separate rugby union teams (Child, Adolescent, and Adult) had their training sessions (n = 3) analyzed using the Coach Analysis and Intervention System. Athlete perceptions of their coaches’ behaviors were measured via the Coaching Behavior Scale for Sport, while coach perceptions of their relationship with their athletes were measured using the Coach–Athlete Relationship Questionnaire. Prescriptive coaching styles were observed in all coaches as Coach Analysis and Intervention System results showed high levels of explicit behaviors: “instruction,” “direct management,” and “feedback.” All coaches utilized similar time proportions within sessions for Coach Analysis and Intervention System “Practice,” “Playing,” and “Management” states, respectively. Questionnaire results revealed positive perceptions between coaches and athletes for all teams. Despite positive bidirectional relationships, the prescriptive coaching style displayed by all coaches may not align to best coaching practice. Development of a coach’s behaviors, training content, and perceptions through coach education has the potential to enhance their athletes’ sporting experience, athletic development, and sport-specific competencies.