The main themes of the coaching pedagogy group are a consistent endeavour to enhance the theory-to-practice links throughout teaching and research and embedding coaching performance and development at the heart of all activity. As such, core research themes aim to develop understanding of how to create coaching excellence and how this fits in with delivering a high performance system, no matter who the athlete (age/level/environment etc.). The role of reflective practice as a mechanism for making sense of individual coaching behaviours and interactions is critical throughout this study and has become an important research focus. Within this, part of the research group is exploring the more contemporary areas of appreciative reflection, positive leadership and strengths-based coaching, taking ideas from many non-sporting disciplines and applying them to the coaching context. Other activity conducted within the group looks more specifically at coach education, focusing more specifically on the learning experiences and identity development of sports coaching students throughout their undergraduate years.
current research activity
A long-term study within the group is the investigation of sports coaching students’ learning experiences and identity development. This longitudinal study aims to investigate, not only what and how students learn, but also traces ‘who they become’ during their undergraduate experiences. Additionally, aspects of the work have already been integrated in to the teaching (and student learning) of sports coaching students. This work has led to collaborations with colleagues from the University of Porto (Portugal) and University of Viçosa (Brazil).
The research group is collaborating with the head of Elite Coach Development at the Rugby Football Union (RFU), on a mentoring project that converts the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) Level 4 rugby coaching qualification to a postgraduate diploma via extended work place portfolio projects. The former Bath Rugby Head coach, and new Queensland Reds attack coach, Steve Meehan, has been a notable participant. This partnership is also responsible for validating the level 4 RFU coaching qualification. This 18-month qualification is the highest within rugby coaching and is by application and invitation only.
The notion of positive psychology in high performance sport is a long-term theme of research within the group. As part of this work the more contemporary areas of appreciative reflection, positive leadership and strengths-based coaching are being explored, taking ideas from many non-sporting disciplines and applying them to the high performance coaching context.
Recent research within the group has focussed on significant moments within coaching. This work, in collaboration with the University of Worcester, and has already yielded publications within ice hockey and female coaching.