Constructing Expert Knowledge: A Case Study of a Top-level Professional Soccer Coach

R. L. Jones*, K. M. Armour, Paul Potrac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth understanding of some of the ways in which one elite soccer coach has constructed, and continues to construct, his professional knowledge. By adopting a life-story approach the paper problematises the predominant rationality of much existing coaching research and questions the role of coach education programmes in the development of coaching knowledge. To accomplish this, the paper focuses on the life events of Steve Harrison, a 48-year-old professional soccer coach who currently works at Middlesborough Football Club. Specifically, it illustrates some of the dimensions of the dynamic social construction of coaching knowledge in a highly challenging, competitive environment. The paper is organised into three sections. In the first section, a rationale for a focus on coaches' knowledge is followed by a brief overview of the life-story method as used in this study. Second, Steve's story is presented, drawing upon excerpts from field-notes, interview transcripts and our critical reflection upon them in the context of existing literature. Acknowledging that it is, in the end, just one version of Steve's story that we have been able to understand, the final section of the paper reflects upon both the life-story process and the issues that Steve's story raises for coach education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-229
Number of pages17
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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