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“Who am I to tell them how to coach”: A critical analysis of the work and learning of coach developers in Aotearoa, New Zealand

This thesis shares research undertaken in New Zealand on the learning and development of sports coach developers. It specifically focuses attention on how coach developers understand and perform their roles. Drawing on multiple semi-structured interviews, observations and reflexive insights, the research highlights the idiosyncratic, complex nature of coach developers’ learning and development. Specifically, the data highlighted a level of ambiguity around their role and competing ideologies on how to best facilitate coaches’ learning. For example, coach developers often entered the role with deeply held beliefs about learning formed through personal biography and a lifetime of learning. However, the data highlighted the multiple and competing interests and networks of power that influenced their beliefs and practices about effective coach development. This tension provided instances of ideological conflict, and a requirement for social, cultural, and contextual literacy within their individual coach development ecosystems. Finally, of interest was the ways in which the research interviews provided a learning intervention and an opportunity to reflect on previously unexplored understandings of their roles. This allowed coach developers the opportunity to reflect, build, craft, and even develop their own personal understanding of their roles. This further underlined the differential impact of existing coach developer training programmes and the need for structured reflective conversations in practitioner development. The research therefore offers novel insights into an important and previously underexplored aspect of the coach development landscape and has implications for informing coach developer trainers.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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