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Martyn Rothwell, Joseph Stone and Keith Davids

Social, cultural, and historical constraints can influence attitudes towards learning, developing, and performing in sport. A recent conceptualization of these environmental constraints in athlete development pathways is a form of life, which describes the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and behaviors that contribute to an athlete’s development. Although a form of life can have a powerful influence on athlete development, research exploring this relationship is limited. In this article we explore the form of life in British rugby league football player development contexts to clarify how social, cultural, and historical constraints influence the development of rugby league players in the United Kingdom. Twenty-four coaches were interviewed through individual semi-structured interviews to collect the data. Findings show how forms of life in rugby league player development pathways are established and maintained by the complex interactions between the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem that shape and guide the development of players. We recommend that player development pathways in sport underpin practice with a theoretical framework of the learning process to protect athletes from social, cultural, and historical constraints that are not conducive to their development.