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Understanding the Impact of an Online Level 1 Coach Education Award on Dodgeball Coaches’ Learning and Practice

Thomas M. Leeder, Lee C. Beaumont, and Ciaran M.C. Maloney

Improved internet access and technological advancements have significantly influenced coaches’ learning opportunities, with numerous online coach education courses now available. Despite this, we know little about coaches’ experiences of such provision and how it shapes coach learning. Consequently, the aim of this research is to understand the impact of an online Level 1 coach education award on dodgeball coaches’ learning and practice. Data were collected via an online qualitative survey involving 57 dodgeball coaches who had completed the award, alongside follow-up virtual semistructured interviews with eight coaches. Following a reflexive thematic analysis process drawing upon the theoretical framework of Jennifer Moon, three themes were generated: (a) a surface or deep approach? Understanding dodgeball coaches’ experiences of the Level 1 award, (b) coaches’ preferences and learning styles: a barrier for online coach education, and (c) enhancing the impact of online coach education: assessment and postaward support. Findings indicate that the award’s impact on learning and practice varied depending upon coaches’ cognitive structures, which influenced their perceptions toward the value of online provision. Although coaches’ experiences were generally positive, authentic assessment(s) and mentoring opportunities were proposed to further enhance the award’s impact.

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“Learning the Hard Way”: Understanding the Workplace Learning of Sports Coach Mentors

Thomas M. Leeder, Kate Russell, and Lee C. Beaumont

The purpose of this study was to understand the workplace learning of sports coach mentors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 coach mentors employed by a sport governing body (SGB) as part of a formalised mentoring programme. ‘Current’ coach mentors (n = 9) had been employed for a minimum of one year by the organisation and were all interviewed once. ‘New’ coach mentors (n = 9) were all interviewed twice, once at the start of their employment and once again 9 months later. Moreover, regional mentors (n = 8) who oversee the training and practice of the coach mentors participated in one focus group. Data were analysed thematically, with the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and relevant workplace learning literature used to support the analytical process. The findings highlight how habitus structures coach mentors’ participation in learning opportunities afforded to them in the workplace. In addition, habitus and embodied capital will impact how coach mentors interact with and interpret mentor training, whilst influencing their level of engagement with other employees. It is argued SGB social fields are crucial in the production of promoted norms and ‘legitimate’ knowledge within workplaces, which subsequently influences mentor learning. Recommendations are made for critically transformative approaches to training coach mentors.