Professional coach educators in-situ: a social analysis of practice

Christopher J. Cushion, Mark Griffiths, Kathleen Armour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Professional coach educators are key to the success of coach education and play a crucial role in developing coaching practice. However, coach education research remains remarkably coach centric with little attention paid to the coach educator or the broader role of the socio-cultural context that frames the learning process. Four professional coach educators working for a Sport Governing Body in-situ with twenty five professional clubs took part in interviews and focus groups over the course of a year. In addition, interviews were undertaken with nine academy managers and thirty two coaches as well as observations in eight of the clubs. This paper focuses on the coach educators specifically and aims to understand the nature of coach educators' social reality and practice by examining something of the relational nature of the coach educators and their practice in context. Using the work of Bourdieu the paper engages in epistemic reflexivity and attempts to uncover coach educators' social and intellectual unconscious embedded in and reflected through their social practice. Findings show the operation of a number of socially constructed legitimating principles where the success or failure of the coach educator's practice and learning was inextricably linked to power. Each club (field) was a field of struggles, and coach educators had to play a symbolic and relational game being defined by and, at the same time, struggling to define these relations. Hence practice for the coach educators was both social and embodied
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages15
JournalSport Education and Society
Early online date5 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2017


  • player centred coaching
  • Coach educators
  • coach education
  • Bourdieu
  • power
  • identity and habitus


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