Cardiff Metropolitan University
An exploration of coaches' interactions between 'scientific concepts' and 'everyday practice' copy.pdf (1.95 MB)

An exploration of coaches' interactions between 'scientific concepts' and 'everyday practice'

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posted on 2024-05-28, 16:58 authored by Michael Castle

The sociological turn of sport coaching research still informs much of our understanding of the activity (Corsby & Edwards, 2019). However, whilst much of our view of sport coaching has been driven by sociological and pedagogical theorisations, there remains a continued gap between them and the practical application of coaching (Lyle, 2018). This continued gap has been associated with the indoctrinating (Cushion et al., 2010) and didactic (Morgan et al., 2013) nature of coach education. Borrowing from Vygotsky’s (1978) notions of dialectics, the aim of the study was to better understand the construction of coaching knowledge through coaches’ continuous interactions between ‘scientific concepts’ and ‘everyday practice’. 

Using an ethnographical case-study approach, the project utilised observations, interviews and reflexive logs to address four research questions. Firstly, how do coaches integrate ‘scientific concepts’ into practice? Secondly, how do coaches develop their own personal theorisation(s) of practice? Third, what are the obstacles and enablers for doing so? Finally, what is the role of the facilitators in this process? 

Findings revealed a reliance on everyday examples by coaches and facilitators, consequently anchoring coaches at an everyday level of thinking. The facilitators were also required to claim their role as more knowledgeable others, enforcing a social order, one which subsequently engendered the learning process. Finally, the coaches engaged in a process of dialectical internalisation, achieved primarily through the use of written notes. Such a process sits slightly at odds to Vygotsky’s (1978) conceptualisation of the internalisation process. 

Through its findings, the study provides a deeper conceptualization of Vygotskyan ideas in practice, presenting scope to further examine the value of his ideas for the disciplines of sport coaching and coach learning. 



  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year