An evaluation of the impacts of the Champion Coaching Scheme on youth sport and coaching
This thesis examines the impacts and legacy of the Champion Coaching Scheme of the National Coaching Foundation, focusing on three case studies of implementation from 1996-1999, on Merseyside and North Wales. As one of the most significant and longrunning programmes of the 1990s, Champion Coaching represented a national blueprint for the development of youth sport and coaching. The evaluation uses a 'realist' approach, drawing upon the scientific realism of Pawson and Tilley (1997). Outcomes are derived from the programme theory developed for Champion Coaching in a multi-method approach. Central to this analysis is the need to examine the context, mechanisms and outcomes from programmes. It draws together evidence from a range of primary and secondary sources; participants, parents, coaches, sport Development practioners, teachers; young people; Census and deprivation statistics. Using a range of techniques, including face to face and telephone interviews, survey and geographical analysis, context- mechanism-outcome configurations of each case study were produced, in order to draw out how the programme 'worked', and contribute to building the evidence base for sport development interventions. The results demonstrate that the blueprint was flexibly interpreted and delivered resulting in particular patterns of outcomes in the different cases. Champion Coaching represented a successful approach to the development of 'perfon-nance pathways', as the level of club membership in participants was higher than suggested by national surveys. In contributing to coaching development, the Scheme had some clear impacts on the human capital involved in sport. However, results were not uniform and show how the sporting infrastructure and attitudes of schools or Governing Bodies to such programmes, can influence whether gains in such capital can be sustained. At the meso-level of analysis of policy for youth sport and coaching, the research shows how Champion Coaching contributed to the policy development in this increasingly salient policy area and points to its legacy in school-aged sport. The conclusions point to some of the lessons learned for future policies and the implications for outcome-oriented evaluations, including the need to plan such evaluation at the stage of programme design.