Investigating the impact of a Freirean informed coach education programme

Ed Cope, Christopher J Cushion, Stephen Harvey, MARK PARTINGTON

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

21 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Coach education discourse has largely suppressed learners’ involvement in learning. To address this, there have been calls for more humanistic approaches to form the basis of formal learning programmes. However, there remains a paucity of research that has investigated what works and why when it comes to the impact of these programmes.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact a theoretically informed learning programme had on coaches’ ownership of, and feelings towards, being engaged in their learning, and how this impacted their subsequent practice. The significance of this work lies in providing evidence that extends current knowledge and understanding of how alternative forms of coach education can be effectively constructed and delivered.

Methods: Three coaches, who worked in recreational coaching contexts, agreed to take part in this study. There were two elements to the methods. First, the development and implementation of a coach education programme was reported in a series of stages. To capture data on programme impact, multiple and mixed data collection methods including interviews and observations were employed. Qualitative data were analysed abductively and quantitative data descriptively.

Findings: Three themes were identified related to the educational concepts espoused by Freire. These were 1) freedom to learn, 2) feeling cared for, and 3) becoming (or not becoming) more reflexive. Quantitative data highlighted where this led to changes in the observable aspects of coaches’ practices.

Conclusion: The current study provides some initial evidence suggesting that when coaches are given freedom to learn, feel cared for, and in some cases, think reflexively about their practice, they have a positive learning experience. Further, and while we cannot say for certain, this approach does seem to lead to changes in coaches’ behaviour and practice in line with the area of their coaching they had chosen to develop.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Coach learning
  • Collaborative action research
  • Freire
  • coach education
  • coaching

Research Groups

  • Practice in Coaching & Teaching


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