Cardiff Metropolitan University
Activity theory, complexity and sports coaching An epistemology for a discipline.pdf (329.94 kB)

Activity theory, complexity and sports coaching: An epistemology for a discipline

Download (329.94 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-26, 16:33 authored by Robyn Jones, Christian Edwards, I. A. Tuim Viotto Filho

 The aim of this article is two-fold. Firstly, it is to advance the case for Activity Theory (AT) as a credible and alternative lens to view and research sports coaching. Secondly, it is to position this assertion within the wider debate about the epistemology of coaching. Following a framing introduction, a more comprehensive review of the development and current conceptualisation of AT is given. Here, AT’s evolution through three distinct phases and related theorists, namely Vygotsky, Leont’ev and Engeström, is initially traced. This gives way to a more detailed explanation of AT’s principal conceptual components, including ‘object’, ‘subject’, ‘tools’ (mediating artefacts), ‘rules’, a ‘community’ and a ‘division of labour’. An example is then presented from empirical work illustrating how AT can be used as a means to research sports coaching. The penultimate section locates such thinking within coaching’s current ‘epistemological debate; arguing that the coaching ‘self’ is not an autonomous individual, but a relative part of social and cultural arrangements. Finally, a conclusion summarises the main points made, particularly in terms in presenting the grounding constructivist epistemology of AT as a potential way forward for sports coaching. 


Published in

Sport, Education and Society


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Jones, R.L., Edwards, C. and Tuim Viotto Filho, I.A. (2016) 'Activity theory, complexity and sports coaching: An epistemology for a discipline', Sport, Education and Society, 21(2), pp.200-216

Print ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Robyn Jones Christian Edwards

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Sport Coaching

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en

Usage metrics

    Culture, Policy and Professional Practice - Journal Articles


    Ref. manager