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Exploring the impact of a coach development programme through the perspectives of Saudi Arabian sport coaches.pdf (758.36 kB)

Exploring the impact of a coach development programme through the perspectives of Saudi Arabian sport coaches

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-08, 14:42 authored by Ed CopeEd Cope, Mansour Alsowayen, Saad Hosawi, Amro Turkistani, Christopher CushionChristopher Cushion

Background: National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) invest significant resources into the design and delivery of learning and development opportunities for sport coaches. This has attracted the attention of sport coaching scholars, who are now focussing their efforts on better understanding the principles of effective coach learning and development. This work has led to principles associated with democratic forms of education being drawn upon to inform how coach learning could be thought about. However, this work to date has almost exclusively focussed on learning from educational programmes where the coaches are known to the coach development/research team, the programmes have been delivered face-to-face, and/or cultural considerations and expectations have not been a factor. With an international interest in sport coaching, coach education is now receiving attention beyond the western world, where coaches are not always known to coach developers prior to the start of an educational programme. These issues requiring research attention.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of an online educational programme based on democratic principles to a group of Saudi Arabian coaches working in participation and/or developmental coaching contexts.

Methods: An online programme based on democratic education principles (i.e. a focus on dialogue and collaboration) took place over a nine-week period with 13 Saudi Arabian football coaches based in Saudi Arabia. Coaches were recruited through communications about the study being sent to clubs based in Riyadh, with those interested asked to contact the second author. Reflective conversations were used at two-time points; once before the educational programme to learn about the coaches and their coaching, then again afterwards to capture the perceived impact and value of the programme. Observations of seven of the 13 coaches took place prior to the educational programme with these data used alongside the first reflective conversation data to inform the programme design. Data were treated to thematic analysis.

Results and discussion: Three themes were generated from the analysis. These were (1) making connections between prior and new pedagogical knowledge, (2) collaborative learning as a means of enhancing coach understanding, and (3) credibility of programme deliverers. Learning about the coaches through the reflective conversations, coach observations, and the initial face-to-face workshops supported the development of content relevant to what coaches wanted and needed to know more about. The ways in which this content was delivered through providing opportunities for coaches to discuss ideas with the education team and other coaches to understand connections between theory and practice seemed an important part of why coaches perceived the content to impact their practice. However, it was the coaches’ perceptions regarding the credibility of the educators that perhaps explained why content was so wilfully accepted as being ‘right’, and thus perceived to have been implemented into practice.


Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research, administered by the Leaders Development Institute under the Ministry of Sport in Saudi Arabia



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy


Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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Dr Ed Cope. Deposit date: 6 February 2024

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