Game based pedagogies and the volunteer coaching community
: (re)imagining coach learning and knowledge through a collaborative approach

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Collaborative action was undertaken in response to the continued criticisms of formal coach education. It is strongly felt that we can no longer merely criticise what is not happening in terms of coach learning, but a key requirement now is to demonstrate other options. In the UK up to 80% of coaches are volunteers who reach out to around eight million people involved in sport. This valuable workforce is largely forgotten and the bureaucratic structures which oversee formal coach education are merely concerned with quotas and income generation. A fundamental problem with formal coach education is the way in which learning is decontextualized and a knowledge deficit remains. Coaching is multifarious and complex and we need to consider better ways in terms of how we prepare people for this. The Coach Learning and Development (CLAD) programme was devised and implemented in October 2013 to May 2014 at a community rugby club in Wiltshire. Over this 8 month period a range of strategies for coach learning were integrated into CLAD to evidence methods which benefitted the transition of knowledge(s). The theoretical endeavours of Basil Bernstein are introduced to SCR for the first time, particularly the ‘pedagogical device’ to understand, theorise and develop insight into the type of educational contexts that can better support the learning of volunteer coaches. Findings suggest that CLAD as collaborative action learning was successful in transforming coaches to engage with more positive and contemporary forms of coaching pedagogy. Namely ‘game based pedagogies’ argued to be theoretically underpinned by the ‘constraints based approach’. Empirical insights are given in the hope that this can spur further methodological enquiries that move beyond the mere criticism of coach education. SCR needs research endeavours that shift beyond the ‘bricolage’ where knowledge is transferred into the real world to influence real change. Therefore, the findings also draw on the pivotal features of CLAD to not only support more value laden research commitments, but to inform policy developments and practice that can re-configure more successful outcomes for coach education and coaches.
Date of Award27 Jul 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSam Carr (Supervisor) & Anthony Bush (Supervisor)


  • action learning research, collaboration, coach learning, community project, volunteers, coaching knowledge(s), pedagogical leadership

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