Cardiff Metropolitan University
9052 - Luciana De Martin Silva.pdf (1.96 MB)

Sports coaching students' learning and identity development: A longitudinal study

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posted on 2022-10-24, 14:46 authored by Luciana De Martin Silva

Despite the rise in sports coaching programmes, limited attention has been given to

understanding the learning experienced on them and their contribution to students’ identity

development. In this context, little evidence exists about how students are influenced by such

programmes; that is, what impact they have on the process of socially and dynamically

constructed identities (Wenger, 2010). The aim of this study is subsequently twofold.

Firstly, to explore students’ perceptions and experiences of the sports coaching undergraduate

degree enrolled upon; and secondly, to examine how these experiences shaped

students’ identities over the length of the given three-year course.

Participants comprised twelve BSc sports coaching undergraduate students from Cardiff

Metropolitan University who were ‘followed’ through their three-year degree course.

Adopting a constructivist-interpretive paradigm, the students were tracked through reflective

logs, video diaries and focus group interviews. Data were analysed using Charmaz’s (2006)

process of inductive analysis. The results showed a move from a surface and strategic

approach to learning to better acceptance of the contested nature of coaching. This was

reflected in the movement from a dualistic to a relativistic view of knowledge. In this

context, ‘caring’ was one of the most influential aspects associated with the role of the

teaching staff throughout the three years of the course. Finally, the findings also suggested

that the students simultaneously occupied a role and belonged to a group, making role

identities and social identities always relevant in explaining action (Stets and Burke, 2000).

The findings suggest the need to encourage student-coaches to seek an increased acceptance

of uncertainty and a better understanding of who they are early in their professional

development. Similarly, the close link between assessment and learning, invites coach

educators to provide supportive and caring environments, including assessments that are in

line with the ambiguous and contested nature of the work.



  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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