The purpose of this study was to investigate how coaches perceived and responded to the content knowledge and assessment processes that they were exposed to during an advanced level soccer coaching award programme. In-depth interviews were conducted with six coaches who had successfully completed the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) ‘A’ Licence in the UK. Using the concepts of the ‘dialectic of socialisation’, ‘studentship’ and Goffman's (1959) work on ‘the presentation of the self’ as analytical pegs, the discussion highlights how the coaches were far from ‘empty vessels’ waiting to be filled. Rather, the findings reveal the active role that the respondent coaches played in terms of accepting, rejecting and resisting the knowledge, beliefs and methods espoused by the coach educators. Finally, perceiving of coach learning as a negotiated and contested activity is discussed in terms of its implications for existing and future coach education provision.