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Title: Understanding coaching practice in professional youth football : deconstructing coaching philosophy
Author: Partington, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 0675
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2020
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The purpose of this research was to understand the social construction of coaching philosophy and investigate how it articulated with, and impacted, coaching practice. Current understandings of coaching philosophy suffer from a lack of conceptual clarity and are often presented as coach centric ideals that are both disconnected from, and not reflected in, coaches' practice (Lyle & Cushion, 2017). To further 'muddy the water' there remains an absence of philosophical thought employed in coaching philosophy, such as ontology, axiology, ethics (Hardman & Jones, 2013) and epistemology (Light, 2008). To address this gap, data were collected from a case study of one professional English youth male football Academy. The research lasted over fifteen months and during this time multiple interviews with coaches and field observations of their practice took place. In addition, observations of discussions were also undertaken with coach developers, first team and Academy staff. The data were analysed using Braun and Clarke's (2006) thematic analysis. Subsequently, the themes were subjected to a higher level of theoretical abstraction using the work of Bourdieu. Here Bourdieu's thinking tools of field, capital and habitus, were used to make connections between the themes and to increase the depth of the study's explanatory outcomes. Analysis revealed that coaching philosophy was mainly associated with tactical and technical knowledge of the sport. Coaching philosophy also functioned as symbolic capital in power relations to rationalise practice rather than provide a clear guide to question and underpin coach's individual practice. A coaching field existed and was influenced by a logic that valorised professional playing experience, National Governing Body coaching qualifications and social connections as symbolic capital. The symbolic capitals in the coaching field structured coach's positions. Hence, coaches' practice in this case was driven and misrecognised by the 'rules of the game' coupled with a desire to maintain or improve their position within the field. What resulted was an uncritical reproduction of established practice, ideology and power. Subsequently, the recommendations from this research proposes that coach education distinguishes between coaching philosophy, philosophical concepts and tactical and technical knowledge. In doing so, coaches need to be given support to identify a philosophy of coaching that includes epistemology, ontology, axiology and ethics. Coaches also need the reflexive tools and understanding to become aware of tradition, culture and relations of power inherent within social structures that can influence their practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Coaching ; Sports Coaching ; Coaching Philosophy ; Philosophy ; Coaching Practice ; Bourdieu