Kicking ‘No Touch’ Discourses into Touch: Athletes’ Parents’ Constructions of Appropriate Adult (Coach)-Child (Athlete) Physical Contact

Thomas Gleaves, Melanie Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

It has been suggested that sport is increasingly becoming a ‘no-touch zone’ as some coaches, driven by a desire for selfprotection, restrict their use of physical contact with (child) athletes in the belief that this reduces their risk of being accused of abuse. Research on coachathlete physical contact is limited, however, and no studies have yet explored how athletes’ parents understand such behaviours. This paper reports on a study that investigates athletes’ parents’ perspectives of appropriate coach-child athlete physical contact within youth swimming. Parents constructed physical contact as necessary and legitimate in three specific contexts and drew on children’s rights principles to rationalize this. This paper discusses the significance of this and explores the benefits of adopting child-centred coaching practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-211
JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
Volume4
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2017

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coach
athlete
parents
contact
discourse
child benefit
coaching
Sports
abuse

Keywords

  • coach-athlete physical contact
  • touch in sport
  • safeguarding and child protection in sport
  • children’s rights
  • youth swimming

Cite this

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