Exploring Coaching Behaviors and the Relationship to Coaching Philosophy: A Study of Grassroots Soccer Coaches

Chris Duggan*, Claire Mulvenna, Tom Hounsell, Joana Fonseca

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Coaching philosophy is understood to be the values and beliefs that underpin a coach’s actions; however, research has demonstrated that coaches lack awareness of both their own behaviors and their own philosophy. As such, this study sought to explore the coaching behaviors of grassroots coaches and better understand if coaching practice is aligned with the coaches stated philosophy. To collect the data a mixed method approach was carried with four grassroot coaches. This involved two individual interviews and three observations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted both before and after the behavioral observations. Behavioral data was collected using a modified version of The Arizona State University Observation Instrument with the intention of providing an insight into the behaviors displayed by the coaches during training activities and was not envisioned to reflect their comprehensive coaching role. The results showed that instruction was the most commonly used behavior amongst coaches in the observed training sessions and that coaches demonstrated a general lack of awareness of their own behaviors. These findings demonstrate that coaches operating at grassroots level may display a lack of awareness of their own practice and suggests the use of video could be an important tool to promote reflection and self-assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
JournalThe International Journal of Sport and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021


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