No prize for second place? the relative importance of competitive success in the philosophies of novice sport coaches

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


The capacity for sport to contribute towards social inclusion and the regeneration of communities has become a popular theme amongst sport organisations and policy makers (Maguire et al., 2002). However, sport has also maintained a reputation for excluding a number of social groups and for replicating stagnant, discriminatory teaching practices. A common discourse is that of prioritising the development of high performance sport over participation for fun (Cassidy, Jones and Potrac, 2008; Fernandez-Balboa and Muros, 2006).

This study aimed to explore the values and beliefs of novice sport coaching students and the subsequent development of their coaching philosophy, regarding, amongst other things, their definition of success. Following ethical approval from the author's institution, 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.

Although some students did highlight the importance of winning competitions, most preferred to emphasise the personal development of each participant. Consistent with previous research on novice coaches however (Nash, Sproule and Horton, 2008), 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. The impact of core values and beliefs about sport participation upon coach behaviour, particularly regarding the importance of competition, is an area which would benefit from further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2014
EventSummer Conference of the Leisure Studies Association 2014: Sport, Festivity and Digital Cultures - University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Jul 20149 Jul 2014 (Conference website.) (Conference programme.) (Conference Programme)


ConferenceSummer Conference of the Leisure Studies Association 2014
Abbreviated titleLSA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherLSA 2014, Sport, Festivity and Digital Cultures brings together comparative and contrasting perspectives upon both the digital age in leisure and upon digital practices as leisure - as prevalent in cultural forms, such as sport or festivity and other leisure pursuits. The conference takes place in a particularly important year for both Scotland and the global sporting and cultural communities. Scotland plays host to the XXth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles. Culturally, 2014 also marks the second “Year of Homecoming”, encouraging the successors of the global Scottish diaspora to return home for a year of cultural “extravaganza and festivity.
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