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Exploring mini rugby union coaches’ perceptions of competitive activities

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-12-19, 17:09 authored by Gethin Thomas, T. Coles, Mark R. Wilson

 The purpose of this study was to explore volunteer rugby union coaches’ perceptions of organised competitive participation during childhood. Participants were 202 under-9 (U9) mini rugby union coaches who had coached during the 2010/11 season. Coaches completed an Internet-based survey, and cluster analysis was used to identify different groups based on attitudes towards the Rugby Football Union’s current rules and proposed changes to these rules. Three distinct groups were identified based on whether they wanted to maintain the status quo (Traditionalists); maintain some elements of structure (Moderates); or have a much less structured introduction to rugby (Radicals). In total, over three quarters of coaches favoured structured elements (early specialisation), while less than a quarter favoured a less structured game (late specialisation). Only the Radical’s views matched those espoused by elite coaches and U9 players themselves, raising several issues regarding coach education for player development during childhood. In the short term there are the difficulties of aligning disparate views of U9 player development via coaching for and during competitive games. This is further complicated by the challenges of enhancing the skills of thousands of volunteer coaches with limited experience, knowledge and expertise in coaching during childhood. 


Published in

Sports Coaching Review


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Thomas, G.L., Coles, T. and Wilson, M.R. (2016) 'Exploring mini rugby union coaches' perceptions of competitive activities', Sports Coaching Review, Sports Coaching Review. 6 (1) DOI: 10.1080/21640629.2016.1244425

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Gethin Thomas

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Sport Coaching

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en

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