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Educating the educators: understanding sport coach educators’ practice and influence on coaches’ learning

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Research Group: Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences

Proposed supervisory team: Dr Anna Stodter, Dr Mathew Dowling, Dr Justin Roberts

Theme: Coaching and Management, Sports Coaching

Summary of the research project:

Understanding the learning and professional development of sport coaches is a growing area of scholarship, with increasing accountability towards developing an appropriately accredited and skilled workforce (Taylor & Garratt, 2013). Formal coach education and licensing is seen as central to these aims and the professionalisation of sport coaching, however, research has been equivocal on their effectiveness (Griffiths et al., 2016).

Although it seems clear that coach educators play an important role in coaches’ formal learning experiences (Nelson et al., 2012), little is known about their practice and how this influences learners. Scholars have suggested that coach educators need more awareness of the theoretical frameworks that could underpin and guide their practices (Lyle, 2007). Recent research has looked in detail at the processes involved in coaches’ professional learning (Stodter & Cushion, 2017), yet how these can be best facilitated through coach education is subject to speculation.

The current project is positioned to make links between the latest knowledge in the field of coach learning with implications for coach educators and national governing bodies. Particular aims are to investigate the practice of coach educators and their influence on coaches’ learning, with potential research questions around how coach educators learn their craft, and their knowledge and use of theoretical frameworks in practice.

This research may adopt a range of methodologies tailored to the specific research questions, including systematic observation, qualitative inquiry, learning histories, grounded theory or ethnographic approaches.

Where you'll study: Cambridge


This project is self-funded. Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps:

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Sport and Exercise Sciences MPhil, PhD. In the section of the application form entitled 'Outline research proposal', please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

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