Seeking conceptual clarity in the study of elite professional coaches and managers in rugby union and association football

Blackett, A. D. (2013) Seeking conceptual clarity in the study of elite professional coaches and managers in rugby union and association football. In: Centre for Research in Coaching Second International Coaching Conference, 22 - 23 June 2013, Crewe, Cheshire.

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Abstract

The study examines how professional rugby union and association football clubs in the UK recruit their first team management and coaching staff. Role clarification is provided on what separates the two positions in regards to how the remits for both roles are devised through interviewing their employers, a population which hitherto have not been sampled in the academic literature. The findings from this study contribute to a broader grounded theory project attempting to examine the career transition between elite athletes and elite coaches within the two sports. In order to sample participants for the broader project, it was important to establish the criteria against which individuals were appointed to coaching and managerial positions. The results draw on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and symbolic capital in respect to how employers recruit coaching staff. Individuals with a similar habitus to the clubs they represent and with high levels of symbolic capital relevant to the field are more likely to be employed as elite coaches and managers. The importance of candidates upholding elevated levels of symbolic capital are for enhanced player respect to be granted. The preference for a candidate’s habitus being similar to the club’s was based on the employer’s desire that the coaching staff would continue promoting the club’s values through their individual and collective practice. It is suggested that candidates with a prior competitive athletic tenure are the only population which can meet the criteria to be effective elite coaches and managers. Such a train of thought helps to perpetuate the culture of fast-tracking elite athletes into elite coaching and managerial positions. As such, society assigning the term ‘profession’ to these roles is critiqued, thereby offering practitioners and academics with further insight into how these roles might evolve through both their informal education and formalised accreditation processes in the hope of aspiring towards a ‘professional’ status.

Keywords:elite sports coach, Bourdieu, field/habitus, symbolic capital, profession, Grounded Theory
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:11321
Deposited On:25 Jul 2013 09:54

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