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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport eTheses
Title: The Professionalisation of Scottish Football Coaches: A Personal Construct Approach
Authors: Clarke, Peter Thomas
Supervisor(s): Lavallee, David
Keywords: Football coaches; Professionalisation: Personal Construct Psychology
Issue Date: 28-May-2017
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Sports coaching has struggled to gain credibility as a profession. It has previously been described as a pseudo profession, though in recent years there have been a number of attempts to rectify this view in order to formally recognize coaching as a profession. Most literature on the professions focuses on the more established professions, with very little research undertaken into the professional development of football (soccer) coaches. The research undertaken examined the ways in which Scottish football coaches learnt their ‘trade’ once they had achieved their initial certification – in other words, how they became socialised into the profession of football coach in Scotland. In order to achieve this aim a number of different samples were examined. First, a sample of aspiring, young professional players were examined, followed by a sample of full time young professionals. Further, two samples of coaches undertaking their initial accreditation courses (SFA UEFA ‘B’ Licence and SFA UEFA ‘A’ Licence - this latter award being essential to become a full time professional football coach in Scotland). Finally, a sample of senior coaches (those that had been practising for at least five years) was examined. The methodology of choice was that of Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) which enabled an idiographic analysis of each coach to be carried out. Using the Repertory Grid (Repgrid) technique all samples, which were exclusively male, completed a grid and the group of senior coaches also had their grid data further analysed using the ‘Laddering’ approach, which enabled a more detailed set of core constructs to be derived. In addition, the development of the ‘Snake’ interview approach, enabled a more detailed examination of senior, elite coaches’tract development. This format enabled the senior coaches to describe perceived critical incidents that had occurred in their professional lives and discussed what meaning such incidents had in their professional development. Results indicated that there was a mismatch between what young professional players thought that coaches should do and what coaches actually did in their daily practice. Further, differences in constructs between “B” level, coaches and “A” level coaches and senior coaches were clearly definable. There was little evidence to support idealistic notions of what should happen in learning situations with senior professional coaches and reasons for such were discussed. It was argued that much more attention should be paid by the National Governing Body, the Scottish Football Association (SFA), to ensure that courses should be better structured to be more relevant to neophyte coaches in their initial learning. Thus, once these coaches become formally qualified (certificated) more precise mechanisms, in terms of realistic Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes, mentoring of coaches at all levels and the establishment and encouragement of ongoing and accepted communities of practice, coaches will benefit and develop as professionals from such continuous life-long learning opportunities.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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