Coaches as sport workers: Professional agency within the employment context of elite European basketball.

Laura Purdy, G.Z Kohe, R Paulauskas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Increased activity of multiple stakeholders (e.g., agents and owners) have created new challenges for some coaches working in professional sports clubs. The purpose of this project was to draw attention to the normative or accepted practices inherent in sport work, some of the day-to-day realities of some coaches working in this context, and to understand how coaches’ perceptions of other stakeholders come to bear on their individual circumstances, career expectations/objectives and professional agency. Data were generated from semi-structured interviews with seven professional basketball coaches who worked in top-level European clubs. The analysis reveals the coach’s relationships between some owners and agents differed with respect to exercising professional agency, and, coach’s decisions and actions were tied to their professional ideals as well as understandings of what they need to undertake their work effectively and negotiation and/or adjustment strategies. Occasionally coach’s work practices could be viewed as antithetical to employment security, however, the presence of insecurity was at times embraced and used strategically to affect workers’ career decisions. Amid contemporary regional geo-political shifts, this work aids examinations of global sport settings, structures and issues that may contour sporting professionals’ lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number2
Early online date3 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2017


  • sports coaches
  • professional agency
  • sportwork
  • elite basketball
  • European context
  • sport work
  • Sports coaches
  • european context


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