Concluding thoughts and ways forward

Robyn L. Jones*, Lars Tore Ronglan, Paul Potrac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


A principal purpose of this text was to provide an insight into the social nature of coaching, inclusive of such notions as power, interaction, structure and agency. A base point to highlight was that what we need to know about coaching is rich, complex and diverse. A second aim was to encourage a healthy suspicion of rather simplified a-theoretical explanations of coaching that do not take heed of such social complexity. Echoing Stones (1998a), the more one looks at the varied insights offered by thinkers such as Goffman, Foucault, Bourdieu and others, the more one realises that there is much to know about coaching that cannot be contained in sound bites and ‘chat-show’ logic. We should not (and in any real sense cannot) forcibly simplify the complexity: for example, by assuming functional relations exist (or should exist) among various groups or individuals (Guilianotti, 2005), or skipping over such notions as ‘social skills’ and ‘communication’ as if they are self-explanatory. Similarly, just developing a literal grasp of the theories presented is not enough. The point here is not to make ‘accuracy a virtue’ (Housman, 1937). That would be like ‘praising an architect for using wellseasoned timber or properly mixed concrete in his [sic] building. It is a necessary condition of his work, but not his essential function’ (Carr, 1961: 11). In coaching terms, such a perspective would privilege the precision of communicative behaviours over the quality of communicative interaction (Pineau, 1994). Alternatively, through this book, we advocate a critical understanding of coaching that challenges instrumental reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sociology of Sports Coaching
EditorsRobyn L. Jones, Paul Potrac, Chris Cushion, Lars Tore Ronglan
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0203865545, 9780203865545
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2010


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