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A Five-Stage Process for Establishing Contextually Valid Systematic Observation Instruments: The Case of Rugby Union

Clive J. Brewer and Robyn L. Jones

The purpose of this paper is to propose a five-stage process for establishing both validity and reliability in new systematic observation instruments. The process is contextualized within the working behaviors of elite level rugby union coaches within the practice setting. The sequential stages began with observer training and progressed through the identification of coaching behaviors through induction (to establish content validity), to establishing face validity through a domain-referenced test. The objectivity and reliability of the developed behavioral classifications are determined through an interobserver agreement test while, finally, the researcher’s ability to reliably reproduce data with the developed instrument is determined using a test/retest intraobserver reliability check. The developed instrument (the Rugby Union Coaches Observation Instrument: RUCOI) is deemed able to record the situationally unique behaviors arising from the nature of the sport and of the elite standard, both of which were considered to impinge upon the pedagogical process in the said context.

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Micropolitical Workings in Semi-Professional Football

Paul Potrac and Robyn. L Jones

This paper seeks to illuminate the micropolitical strategies that Gavin (a pseudonym) used in an attempt to persuade the players, the assistant coach, and the chairman at Erewhon City Football (soccer) Club to “buy into” his coaching program and methods. Data for the study were collected through in-depth, semistructured interviews, and a reflective log relating to those interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim with the subsequent transcripts being subject to a process of inductive analysis. Ball’s (1987) micropolitical perspective, Kelchtermans’ and Ballet’s (2002a, 2002b) work on micropolitical literacy, and Goffman’s (1959) writings on the presentation of the self, are used to make theoretical sense of the specific strategies used by Gavin in an attempt to persuade the players to see the merits of his coaching.

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Choppy Waters: Elite Rowers’ Perceptions of Coaching

Laura G. Purdy and Robyn L. Jones

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).

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Power, Discourse, and Symbolic Violence in Professional Youth Soccer: The Case of Albion Football Club

Christopher Cushion and Robyn L. Jones

A sociological analysis was conducted into the collective nature of coaching as manifest in the triangular interaction between coach, athlete, and context within English professional youth soccer. The work of Pierre Bourdieu is predominantly used to interpret data collected ethnographically over the course of a 10-month season. Findings show how an authoritarian discourse is established and maintained, how it is structured by and subsequently structures the coaching context, and how accompanying behaviors are misrecognized as legitimate by both coaches and players. We conclude by reflecting on the limits of such work and its implications for future coaching education.

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Working at the Edge of Chaos: Understanding Coaching as a Complex, Interpersonal System

Imornefe Bowes and Robyn L. Jones

Drawing on ideas from social psychology, in particular those associated with relational schemas and complexity theory, the purpose of this paper is to present an alternative perspective of coaching. Following the introduction, current conceptualizations of coaching are critiqued as being inadequate. The case is then made that such work could alternatively profit from an examination of coaches’ agency within their structurally created relational schemas to better understand the nature of the activity. Recent empirical work on coaches is subsequently drawn upon to support the theoretical position proposed, which postulates practitioners as working near or on “the edge of chaos.” Finally, a conclusion draws together the main points made, particularly in relation to the value of the position taken for coach education.

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Racial Participation and Integration in English Professional Basketball 1977-1994

Robert Chappell, Robyn L. Jones, and Adrian M. Burden

This study investigates racial trends, in terms of participation and integration, in the highest levels of English professional basketball A longitudinal approach is utilized whereby the facial and international compositions of teams and coaching staffs who comprised the First Division of the English National Basketball League during the period 1977-1994 are examined. The findings demonstrate that although a substantial increase in the number of Blacks, and more specifically black Britons, who played the game at the highest level in England took place during the set time period, no evidence of racial discrimination, as demonstrated through “stacking,” exists. It is hypothesized, however, that racism within English basketball is alternatively manifest through numerous social dynamics particular to the English context that are responsible for the predominance of black athletes within the sport. These developments, in turn, are interlinked with the wider global processes of commercialization and Americanization.