Inclusive and equitable processes are important to the development of sports coaching. The aim of this study was to explore how well UK coach education meets the needs of women sports coaches to make recommendations to further enhance the engagement of, and support for, aspiring and existing women coaches. The national governing bodies (NGBs) of four sports (Cycling, Equestrian, Gymnastics and Rowing) volunteered to participate and semistructured interviews using the tenants of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) within a Self Determination Theory (SDT) framework were undertaken with 23 coaches, eight coach educators and five NGB officers. The data themed into an analytic structure derived from SDT comprising ‘Autonomy: Freedom to coach’, ‘Coaching competence’, and ‘Relatedness and belonging’. The coaches perceived potential benefit from enhanced relatedness and belonging within their sport with the findings suggesting that NGBs should embrace coach-led decision making in terms of the developmental topics which are important and should adopt the development of competence, rather than assessing technical understanding, as the foundational principle of more inclusive coach education. Future research should investigate the impact of the inclusive practices which are recommended within this investigation such as the softening of the technocratic focus of formal coach education.
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Don Vinson is a principal lecturer in sports coaching science at the University of Worcester, UK. He has published numerous articles in field of sports coaching. He is an experienced coach educator and has also coached field hockey in the English National Premier League as well as at junior international level. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Polly Christian is a lecturer in physical education and coaching science at the University of Worcester, UK. She is course leader for the BSc (Hons) cricket coaching and management pathway and maintains a particular interest in inclusive coaching practice. Sheis a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Vanessa Jones is associate head of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Worcester, UK. In 2016, she was short-listed for the Wonderful Worcestershire Women Award in recognition for her role in founding the Women in Sport and Exercise (WISE) initiative at the University of Worcester. She has worked as an OFSTED inspector for physical education and has coached field hockey at a county and regional level.
Craig Williams is coach education and development manager at the University of Worcester, UK. Since 2001, he has created a vocational coach education programme that has provided over 13,000 opportunities for university students and community coaches to secure accredited coaching awards. He regularly works with over 20 National Governing Bodies of Sport in the UK and supports numerous elite athletes through mentoring and bursary schemes. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Derek M. Peters is a professor of sport, health & exercise science at the University of Worcester, UK and the University of Agder, Norway. He co-edited High Performance Disability Sport Coaching (2016; Routledge); is Fellow of the European College of Sport Science; Academic Expert of the International Society of Performance Analysis of Sport; HE Academy National Teaching Fellow & has published widely across sport, coaching and exercise and health-related disciplines.