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An Exploration of the Socio-Pedagogical Development, and Present-Day Coach Experiences, of Grassroots Coach Education in English Football

Chapman, R (2023) An Exploration of the Socio-Pedagogical Development, and Present-Day Coach Experiences, of Grassroots Coach Education in English Football. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Sport is recognised as a situated activity that is a microcosm of society. As a situated activity, sport coaching is dynamically influenced by society’s expectations, complicated by different actors (e.g., coaches, coach educators, mentors, club representatives), and informed by multidisciplinary knowledge. Thus, to coach effectively in situated contexts, coaches require continued support and access to new knowledge that is personal, and pertinent to their context. One mechanism to gain this knowledge is through engagement with formal coach education courses. However, coach education provision has been the subject of much criticism and labelled as decontextualised, authoritarian, bureaucratic, and judged as failing to meet the needs of coaches. These criticisms have derived from explorations of formal coach education courses. These courses have tended to be episodic and have pre-determined outputs that are strictly driven by defined curriculum. Thus, coaches’ personal experiences and specific environments have been marginalised in coach education and this may inhibit opportunities for coaches to socially construct knowledge relevant to their own environment.

While coach education research has explored on course micro-pedagogical interactions, it has rarely considered the macro development of coach education policy. This is remiss as we have little understanding of how we have come to find coach education today. Therefore, while we know that formal coach education courses are somewhat limited, we do not know why these courses have been constructed the way they are, and we have limited understanding of the influence of courses in coaches’ own world. In response, this thesis explores the socio-pedagogical development of The English Football Association’s coach education provision from an interpretivist perspective. To do this, this thesis uses a Freirean lens and an array of innovative methods (e.g., pedagogical case studies, creative non-fiction stories, oral history interviews, write-and-draw methods) to explore the experiences of multiple actors within the coach education process (i.e., policy developers, coach educators, coaches, and children). Specifically, Chapter Four and Chapter Five of this thesis originally tracks the pedagogical development of past FA policy (since 1967) and considers how FA policy has been socially constructed over time. They do so by exploring the perceptions of 16 interviewees (policy developers, coach educators) and a document analysis of 47 policy documents. Chapter seven of this thesis moves beyond this historical account to explore the experiences of todays’ grassroots coaches (specifically three coaches) in their own coaching world. To consider these original perspectives I draw on data from observation field notes (total number – 57 observations), interviews (4 per coach) and FA projects with coaches and write-and-draw activities and shoulder-to-shoulder interviews with children.

In summary, this original contribution extends our understanding of FA coach education by using a socio-pedagogical perspective that positions formal coach education as a temporal, social, and situated phenomena. The thesis contributes to the field by moving beyond evaluating coach education on courses, to understanding how courses have been structured and the influence on coaches and the evolving challenges they face in their everyday coaching worlds.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coach Education; Football; Coaching; Paulo Freire; Sport Pedagogy; Sport Sociology; Storytelling
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports > GV711 Coaching
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2023 16:50
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2024 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00022016
Supervisors: Cronin, C, Richardson, D and Littlewood, M
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22016
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