“Active” and “Passive” coach pathways: Elite athletes’ entry routes into high-performance coaching roles

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Alexander David Blackett, Adam Brian Evans, David Piggott

This study sought to analyse the lived experiences of so-called “fast-tracked” coaches from men’s association football and rugby union by seeking to understand how these individuals prepared for and then transitioned into a post-athletic coaching career. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 male coaches. All participants were former elite athletes and had followed a fast-tracked pathway into their current post-athletic coaching roles. Participants were based in England and had retired from an athletic career within 12 months of being interviewed. Two general categories of “active” and “passive” coach pathways were identified for the career trajectory. Active coaches purposefully prepared for a coaching career during their athletic careers, whereas passive coaches did not. Passive coaches’ decisions to become a coach were often reactive and made after retiring from a competitive athletic career. Results indicate that only the career trajectory of passive coaches reflects a fast-track pathway. None of the active or passive coaches negotiated any formalised recruitment processes into their first post-athletic coaching roles. The suggestion is that prejudicial recruitment practices are enacted by senior club management which creates a homogenous coaching workforce. This furthers the need for greater governance of high-performance coach recruitment within England for these sports.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Science - Association football, Coach development, Coach recruitment, Rugby union

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