Loughborough University
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An in-situ exploration of the reflection and experience-based learning of professional football players and coaches

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posted on 2015-07-02, 10:19 authored by Robert J. Mackenzie
The aim of the current thesis was to critically examine the reflection and experience-based learning of professional football players and coaches at a football club. Specific attention was paid to the influence that the social environment had on players and coaches experiences and the extent to which they influenced each others experience-based learning and reflective practice. A case study approach using semi-structured interviews and ethnography including participant observation, informal interviews and audio/video recordings informed the current research. Schön s (1983) experience-based theory of learning and reflective practice was used to represent coaches and players reflective practice prior to the application of Foucault (1972, 1979, 1988, 1991a) as social theory. It was found that an institutionally reproduced discourse, which emphasized the importance of winning, governed both coaches and players experience-based learning at the club. Positive discourses of reflection were introduced by coaches and embodied by willing and docile players due to the added legitimacy that was associated with their knowledge. Players reflective practice represented a technology of power as it was dominated by their coaches presence and resulted in players interpretations being normalised to the extent that they became self-surveillant. Players compliance contributed to the construction and reproduction of an overarching disciplinary culture of surveillance that was initially introduced by the club s coaches and made possible through the constant assimilation of data and different forms of performance monitoring (i.e. GPS, video-based PA, physical testing).


Leicester City FC and Loughborough University



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Robert Mackenzie

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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