Conceptual Coupling: Bourdieu and Sport Methodology Results and Discussion Valuing the Physical Over the Cultural: A Clash of Capitals Shifting Sands: Exercising Strategies Conclusions Additional information Footnotes References Full Article Figures & data References Citations Metrics Reprints & Permissions PDF Abstract There exists an apparent paradox between the continuing significance and growing glamorization of the professional game on a global scale and the increasingly unstable labour market conditions affecting professional football players at the national level – in this case, the Scottish professional football field. In this paper, we utilize Pierre Bourdieu's formula of habitus, capital and field to frame professional footballers' social practices – with specific emphasis on their engagement (or lack of engagement) with educational discourses. We also employ Bourdieu's concept of strategy to consider the ways in which footballers' identities might be reformulated within rather than outside the boundaries of the professional football field. Empirically, data generated from an in-depth qualitative study of two Scottish professional football clubs are presented. The paper concludes that, despite the increased awareness and availability of educational opportunities, players' engagement with educational discourses is, at best, an instrumental, means-end and outcome-based one.