Exploring the coaching philosophies of novice sport students

LH Graham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Increasing participation in sport attracts much interest, both as a tool in combating rising obesity levels and as a means of improving the likelihood of producing elite athletes. Sport coaches play an essential role in developing positive and engaging sport climates and coach educators have identified that a strong coaching philosophy is a central factor in the provision of these positive experiences. A coach’s philosophy is composed of their values and beliefs and is influenced by their life experiences and background, comparable to the sociological concept of habitus. This study explored the coaching philosophies of 1st year sport coaching degree students in order to establish; their understanding of the concept of philosophy, the primary values and beliefs expressed, and the origins of these beliefs. The written coaching philosophy statements of 77 sport coaching students, submitted during their 1st semester were examined. Inductive content analysis generated several key areas to which students tended to refer; Encouraging Fun, Importance of Success, Building Relationships, Developing Character, and Origin of Beliefs. Consistent with previous research on novice coaches, it was noted that participants appeared to struggle to articulate the precise nature of their philosophy and in particular, how it would translate into action. Results also highlighted the importance of experiential learning or habitus, versus formal education. The development of coaches able to reflect and modify coaching approach is imperative for inclusive and effective sport provision. Analysis of the means by which coaches acquire and articulate their philosophies could assist in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2012
EventInternational Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2012 - Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Jul 201218 Jul 2012


ConferenceInternational Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2012
Abbreviated titleISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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