A longitudinal investigation of coaching behaviours of professional top level youth football coaches

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Coaches currently use behaviour and practice activities which have been learned from a combination of tradition, coaches’ intuition, and emulation of other coaches (Cushion, Armour & Jones, 2003). The purpose of this study is to identify these experiences that impact five English professional youth soccer coach’s cognitive processes for the choice of practice and behaviour. To fully understand the holistic nature of coaching, it has been argued that research focus should be given to the world of individual coaches, and how they operate within their given contexts (Potrac, Jones & Armour, 2002). This study addresses individual coaches’ interpretations of their experiences and the process by which meanings and knowledge are used to guide actions (Potrac et al., 2002; Smith & Cushion, 2006; Harvey, Cushion & Massa-Gonzalez, 2010). To expose the knowledge and strategies coaches’ use that underpin their behaviour and practice, while providing a deeper understanding of the factors that coaches’ believe explain their performance (Potrac et al., 2002; Smith & Cushion, 2006). In this study, to aid interpretation and understanding of coaches’ behaviour and practice, rigorous application of quantitative methods (e.g., observational techniques) complemented by sound interpretations of qualitative data have been recommended (Ford, Yates & Williams, 2010; Potrac et al., 2002; Smith & Cushion, 2006). Despite an accumulation of descriptive behavioural knowledge about youth coaches, and recently additional descriptive understanding of practice structures, the professional arena in general and professional soccer particularly remains under-researched, with limited mixed-methods research being applied to the coaching behaviour and practice structures of professional youth coaches. This study looked to go some way to addressing this issue by replicating and building on studies in similar contexts while using the sophisticated Coach Analysis Intervention System (see Cushion, Harvey, Muir & Nelson, 2012) combined with interpretive interviews to examine coaching behaviour and practice structures. It is this research that is essential since we need to firstly examine ‘how’ and ‘why’ coaches behave and structure practice before theorizing about how changes may be made (Potrac, Jones & Cushion, 2007).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2013
Event9th ICCE Global Coach Conference - Durban, South Africa
Duration: 11 Sept 201313 Sept 2013


Conference9th ICCE Global Coach Conference
Country/TerritorySouth Africa


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