“Good Athletes Have Fun”: a Foucauldian reading of university coaches’ uses of fun

Zoe Avner, Jim Denison, Pirkko Markula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Fun is deeply ingrained in the ways we talk about and understand sport: Having fun is what makes sport positive and healthy. Drawing on a Foucauldian perspective, we problematize how fun, a psychological construct, informs coaches’ practices. Interviews with 10 varsity coaches from a Canadian university indicated that the coaches used fun to overcome the ‘grind’ of physical skill training. In addition, fun was used to develop and naturalize a need for athletes’ positive psychological traits and skills. In their training contexts, thus, the coaches clearly employed fun to reinforce their use of a number of dominant disciplinary training practices. As a result, instead of operating as a positive force for athlete engagement, the incorporation of fun further legitimized and perpetuated coaches’ ‘normal’ training practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
JournalSports Coaching Review
Volume8
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

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