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“It’s Necessary Work”: Stories of Competitive Youth Sport Coaches’ Developing Critical Praxes

Sara Kramers and Martin Camiré

In this study, nine Canadian competitive youth sport coaches’ challenges and successes in creating safer and more inclusive sport spaces were explored through individual pre- and postseason interviews and an in-season reflective portfolio of their coaching experiences. From a story analyst approach, the central narrative theme of “it’s my responsibility to enact change” was identified. A storyteller approach was then used to communicate the meanings of the central theme as accessible creative nonfiction composite stories: When is it okay to intervene?; burning out … it’s consuming me; and breaking through … it’s necessary work. Building on previous research, the findings demonstrate how coaches’ critical praxes shift on a continuum of awareness and advocacy. The creative nonfictions may be used by coach educators and mental performance consultants to help coaches and leaders in sport assess their critical praxes toward challenging social issues in sport and acting in ways that support advocacy and empowerment.

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Examining Program Quality in a National Junior Golf Development Program

Sara Kramers, Martin Camiré, and Corliss Bean

Golf Canada recently restructured its national junior golf development program, Learn to Play, going from an original curriculum that focused on teaching golf skills to an updated curriculum that integrates the teaching of golf and life skills. The purpose of the study was to examine whether there were differences in program quality through implementation of the original program compared with the updated program. Five coaches using the original program and nine coaches using the updated program took part in the study over an entire summer golf season. The 14 coaches (M age = 40 years) were each systematically observed on three occasions (i.e., total of 42 observations) and completed an end-of-season program quality questionnaire. The data were subjected to descriptive statistical analyses. Results demonstrated that (a) coaches who implemented the updated program were observed fostering higher levels of program quality than coaches who implemented the original program and (b) researcher observation scores were significantly lower than coach questionnaire scores of program quality. Results are discussed to situate the influence of the updated program on markers of quality. Practical implications for coach education and explicit life skills curricula are discussed.

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Reflections on Improving Women’s Experiences of Mentorship in Canadian Coaching

Sara Kramers, Corliss Bean, Caroline Hummell, Veronica Allan, Andrea Johnson, and Jennifer Turnnidge

Despite recent advancements for women in leadership roles, women remain underrepresented in sport coaching contexts. Mentorship has been advocated as a potential avenue for advancing and sustaining the careers of women coaches. In line with this, national sporting bodies have implemented mentorship programs to pair new and aspiring women coaches with senior leaders. While recent evaluations show promising results, research is needed to understand how these programs are conceptualized, implemented, and experienced by program participants. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore stakeholders’ experiences in two Canadian women in coaching mentorship programs. Perspectives were gathered from 21 Canadian sport stakeholders that included program mentees, mentors, and staff. Data were analyzed using a reflexive thematic approach. Findings demonstrate the need for purposefully recruiting both mentor and mentee coaches to sustain meaningful partnerships. Additionally, participants highlighted the need for sport organizations to situate women in coaching as a priority and engage in sponsorship and long-term planning for sustaining women’s advancements in coaching. This study explores women in coaching mentorship programs from multiple perspectives, which may inform future formalized mentorship opportunities for women coaches by addressing identified challenges and barriers.