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The value of coach education programmes – and who is taking part?
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6629-613x
Linnéuniversitetet.
2014 (English)In: ECER Conference: The past, present and future of educational research in Europe, 2014Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many coaches and leaders within the Swedish sports movement have themselves been active sportsmen and sportswomen, acquiring knowledge and experience in the process. Besides learning within their own clubs, many coaches have also attended various coach education programmes. The Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) describes this education as an important arena for discussing core values, such as equality, ethics and morals, and for sharing knowledge. In recent years, there have been a number of initiatives to train coaches and leaders, with many of these programmes targeting young leaders and coaches (Redelius et al. 2004; Meckbach & Larsson 2012). However, no common policy for the content and format of these coach education programmes has been devised nor criteria for recruiting young people to them. A degree of consensus can be discerned insofar as the organisation RF has been accorded considerable responsibility for youth coach education programmes; yet such programmes are also being arranged by other organisers, such as various special associations and district associations.

It is reasonable to assume that notions and underlying value structures are important to the format and content of coach education programmes, and by extension, the sports organisation that children and young people encounter. The content and format of coach education programmes can be seen as important aspects for understanding which critical discussions are conducted and what knowledge appears self-evident. This presentation discusses the path to coach education programmes, namely what notions and expectations there are of the content and the knowledge involved.

The aim of the study is to explore at whom youth coach education programmes are aimed and what kinds of values are produced and reproduced in youth coach education programmes.

Studies of coaches and coach education programmes within RF examine primarily adult coaches. Many of them are parents of physically active children and have, consequently, become coaches. Regardless of whether a criterion for being a coach is parenthood or there are other criteria, most parents are former sportsmen or women; they are very familiar with the history and traditions of club sports and the prevalent norms and values. The majority have a relatively high level of education, are of Swedish extraction and are middle class (Larsson & Meckbach 2013). With regard to young coaches, analysis shows that just over half of young people who practise sports at the age of 19 to 20 have had coach roles, and that this proportion has increased in recent years. Boys are considerably more active as coaches than girls, and there are also more boys than girls who have taken part in coach education programmes. Meanwhile, more girls than boys reported that they were interested in becoming coaches and attending a coach education programme (RF 2005). Coach education programme has proved itself to be an important factor in encouraging young people to take on leadership roles (Vargas-Tonsing 2007).

Research about leadership and coach education programmes show that they are important for promoting positive youth development through sport (Conroy & Coatsworth 2006; Eley & Kirk, 2010; MacDonald et al. 2010; Sullivan et al. 2012; Stewart et al. 2013). However, the content and design of coach education programme is a crucial factor for the outcome of the education (Cushion et al. 2003; Stewart et al. 2013). Stewart et al.  (2013) and Dahlin (2004) show that psychological and pedagogical knowledge and knowledge of transformational leadership is important and promote topics such as communication skills, motivation and building character are positive for youth development than content in mainstream coach education programs.

Methodology

The data consists of a questionnaire with a total of 45 questions both open and closed, and includes three parts: background issues, experience in sport and leadership, and matters of youth coach education programmes. A total of 540 young coaches (219 men and 321 women) took part in the study. The responses were coded and entered into the statistics program SPSS 20.0, after which statistical processing was carried out to create tables and conduct analyses.

To understand actions and strategies based on an individual or group relationship and the social context in which they find themselves, we take inspiration from the theories and concepts of Bourdieu (1990). Using Bourdieu’s theories makes it possible to ‘penetrate’ and illustrate the objective characteristics of social practitioners, of which individuals are only semi-conscious. Or in other words, a person’s actions occur as a result of their experiences and the opportunities arising within the specific social context. The sports movement can be seen as a specific context, which describes as a social field with its own logic and defining its own rules. These are rules that everyone in the field has to abide by and that are also often self-evident and taken for granted (Bourdieu 1977). Bourdieu uses the concepts of ‘habitus’ and ‘capital’ to explain how certain actions appear more possible than others. Habitus determines how people act, think, perceive and evaluate in different social contexts. Bourdieu also uses the term ‘symbolic capital’ to explain how something can serve as an asset if it is ‘recognised as valuable by social groups and is assigned a value’ (Broady 1991). It is the context that determines what can be understood and serves as symbolic capital. There has to be a market where this capital is in demand and what is deemed an asset within one context may be totally worthless in another.

The starting point is that coaching can be seen as an encounter between individuals from different backgrounds and with various experiences and a coaching education programme’s value structures. Value structures, or what is sometimes referred to as a education programme’s practice, contain notions, values, norms and practices that constitute what is deemed valuable knowledge. Participants are individuals, but at the same time they find themselves in a context involving a number of socially constructed rules and notions about what is possible and right, as well as the opposite, i.e. what is inconceivable.

Expected outcomes/results

The study shows that the majority of young people who participate in youth coach education programmes are of Swedish descent.  The Swedish sports movement appears to be struggling to recruit young coaches who have grown up in another country. The young coaches have minor assets in the form of cultural capital. A slightly larger proportion has attended a preparatory programme at an upper secondary school. As for their parents, relatively high proportions have no college education. By contrast, they have other experience, i.e. forms of capital that are an asset as a coach within the sports movement. Sport has been and is, for many, an interest involving the entire family.

Young coaches expect to learn a lot within a number of different areas. Certain knowledge and areas of content appear to be more important than others. What they value most is being a good leader, along with being able to cooperate with others and manage conflicts. Knowledge of other cultures and religions or knowledge of gender roles is, similarly, not highly valued. What is important, however, is gaining knowledge that is more sport-specific, i.e. in their sport or knowledge of the physical body, such as training theory.

To sum up is that coach education programme is for the already initiated. Young people who know their sport and with a taste for sport are those recruited for coach education programmes. They are expected to already have incorporated the sport’s values and norms, and are familiar withthe ‘rules’ of the sports movement. They are happy with the knowledge they have gained and with the fact that they have made new friends. This indicates that the education programme has paid dividends in the form of both social and symbolic capital, which are recognised as valuable to sports leaders.

References

Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1990). The Logic of Practise. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Broady, D. (1991). Sociologi och epistemologi: Om Pierre Bourdieus författarskap och den historiska epistemologin [Sociology and Epistemology: On Pierre Bourdieu’s Work and the Historical Epistemology], Ph.D. diss., 2nd ed. Stockholm: HLS Förlag.

Conroy, D.E. & Coatsworth, J.D. (2006). Coach Training as a Strategy for Promoting Youth Social Development, The Sport Psychologist, 20:128-144.

Cushion, C.J., Armour, K.M. & Jones, R.L. (2003). Coach Education and Continuing Professional Development: Experience and Learning to Coach, Quest, 55(3): 215-230.

Dahlin, L. B. (2004). Kan idrott förbereda ungdomar för vuxenlivet eller slår den ut potentiella idrottsutövare? [Can Sport Prepare Young People for Adult Life or Does It Exclude Potential Sports Practitioners?] <http://www.idrottsforum.org/articles/dahlin/ dahlin.html>

Eley, D. & Kirk, D. (2002). Developing Citizenship through Sport: The Impact of a Sport-Based Volunteer Programme on Young Sport Leaders, Sport Education and Society, 7 (2): 151-166.

Larsson, L. & Meckbach, J. (2013). To be or not to be invited: Youth Sport-Young People´s Influence in voluntary sport, Sport Science Review, 22(3-4):187-204.

MacDonald, D.J., Côté, J. & Deakin, J. (2010),  The Impact of Informal Coach Training on the Personal Development of Youth Sport Athletes, International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 5(3): 363- 372.

Meckbach, J. & Larsson, L. (2012). Education: one way to recruit and retain young coaches, YouthFirst The Journal of Youth Sports, 2012, 6 (2): 25-31.

Redelius, K., Auberger, G., and Bürger Bäckström, C. (2004), Ung ledare sökes: En studie av Riksidrottsförbundets satsning på unga ledare [Young Leaders Required: A Study of the Swedish Sports Confederation’s Young Leader Initiative]. Stockholm: Swedish Sports Education/The Swedish Sports Confederation.

Sullivan, P., Paquette, K., Holt, N. &  Bloom, G. (2012), The Relation of Coaching Context and Coach Education to Coaching Efficacy and Perceived Leadership Behaviors in Youth Sport, Sport Psychologist, 26 (1):122-134.

Stewart A., Lindsay G. & Trevor P. (2013), A Pilot Test of Transformational Leadership Training for Sports Coaches: Impact on the Developmental Experiences of Adolescent Athletes.  International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 8(3):513-531.                     

Vargas-Tonsing T. (2007), Coaches' Preferences for Continuing Coaching Education  International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 2(1): 25-35.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Young coaches, coach education programmes, Bourdieu
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-3433OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-3433DiVA: diva2:746048
Conference
ECER/EERA 2014, Porto, Portugal, 1-5 September 2014
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, 55-516/10
Available from: 2014-09-11 Created: 2014-09-11 Last updated: 2014-10-01Bibliographically approved

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