Loughborough University
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Exploring professional coach educators’ journeys and perceptions and understandings of learning

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-25, 14:37 authored by Darren WattsDarren Watts, Christopher CushionChristopher Cushion, Lorraine CaleLorraine Cale
Coach educators’ voices rarely feature in the coaching literature. To address this gap, this research explored the journeys and perceptions and understandings of learning of 16 coach educators (tutors) in the United Kingdom (UK). As such, the research enabled the voices of these coach educators to be heard and their socialisation processes to be investigated. Semi-structured interviews were used to gain exploratory insights and the data were analysed thematically through inductive and deductive processes. Themes were identified that related to the coach educators’ journeys and lives as well as their understandings of learning and coach education. To offer a theoretically informed and sophisticated appreciation of coach educators and coach education, the sociological framework of Pierre Bourdieu was adopted. The analysis showed the coach educators’ beliefs and perceptions had been formed, inculcated and reproduced as a result of taken-for-granted and doxic experiences (Bourdieu, 1977) as athletes, learners and coaches and in coach education and tutor training (and tertiary education in some cases). The coach educators suggested that knowledge of ‘learning’ was important for coaching and coach education and associated it with contextualised and situated practice. The participants viewed the coach education they delivered to be decontextualised and to have low impact. Additionally, the findings suggested that coach educators may have limited pedagogical knowledge and conceptual understanding. The analysis typically positioned the professional coach educator habitus as being unreflective, unreflexive, and compliant as they appropriated legitimate (but questionable) methods. The findings are significant in that they highlight the need to: i) appreciate and explore coach educators’ roles, contexts, experiences, and understandings; and ii) conduct critical inquiry with coach developers, those occupying senior Sport Governing Body (SGB) positions, policymakers, and stakeholders in order to enhance our knowledge of this complex but crucial practitioner and role, and ultimately tutor training and practice.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Sport, Education and Society


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Taylor and Francis

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Sport, Education and Society on 18 Feb 2021, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2021.1887115

Acceptance date


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Dr Darren Watts. Deposit date: 22 February 2021