Disability sport coaching: "You just coach the athlete, not the disability"
Cushion, C., Huntley, T., & Townsend, R. C. (2020). Disability sport coaching: ‘You just coach the athlete, not the disability’. In J. Wallis & J. Lambert (Eds.), Sport Coaching with Diverse Populations: Theory and Practice. Routledge.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13938
Disability and parasport provide visibility and representation of disability and disabled people, providing a space where cultural understandings of ‘disability’ can be challenged and reshaped. As a result, disability and parasport is often assumed a ‘non-disabling’ site or associated with disability ‘empowerment’ and identity work, that is resisting and reconstructing negative disability-specific associations. The disability and parasport field, is therefore, replete with the encouragement and development of ‘athlete-first’ or ‘athlete-centred’ discourses. However, few critically interrogate these notions, and as a concept ‘athlete-centred’ has become ‘taken-for-granted’, is presented uncritically and enthusiastically accepted as a ‘good’ for disability and parasport. The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to discourses on the social construction of disability in sport and through coaching. In particular, challenging the notion of ‘coach the athlete not the disability’ discourses as ‘empowerment’, highlighting the sometimes unintended consequences of well-intended actions that reside in in social formations where power relations mediate.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Sport Coaching with Diverse Populations on October 25, 2020, available online: http://www.routledge.com/e/9780367854799