‘It’s an experiential thing’: the discursive construction of learning in high-performance coach education

Cushion, Christopher J. and Stodter, Anna and Clarke, Nicola J. (2021) ‘It’s an experiential thing’: the discursive construction of learning in high-performance coach education. Sport, Education and Society. ISSN 1470-1243

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2021.1924143


The design and delivery of formal coach education and learning opportunities appear to be permeated by taken-for-granted discourses. These discourses exercise a systemised influence on the social construction of coaches’ professional knowledge, with potentially problematic consequences. Adopting a discursive methodology using discourse analysis, this study explored the ways in which facilitators and coaches in a high-performance coach education programme constructed coach learning. Data were collected over a two-year period using on-course participant observation (10 days), interviews with coaches and course facilitators (n = 29), and document analysis. Findings indicated a dominant discourse of ‘learning’ as a linear, mechanistic and unproblematic process occurring independently of context, and of coaches as experiential learners, which positioned participants as anti-intellectual and uncritical adopters of ‘what works’. These discourses functioned to reproduce relations of power between the facilitators (the holders of knowledge) and the participants (the recipients of knowledge). The impact of these discursive resources on programme design and delivery are discussed, alongside implications for elite coaches’ subjectivity and practice, in order to confront dominant and legitimate ‘truths’ in coach education.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sport coaching, coach education, coach learning, discourse, foucault
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 18 May 2021 15:08
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:50
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706594

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