Learning from the past; a Freirean analysis of FA coach education since 1967

Reece Chapman, Dave Richardson, Ed Cope, Colum Cronin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Formal coach education has been described as an activity which promotes conformity from course attendees. To date, however, few studies have looked at how coach education has been socially constructed over time. The present study addresses this gap and provides a Freirean account of English Football Association (FA) coach education since 1967. Specifically, this study focuses on coach education in the participation domain (grassroots football) where many participants first experience football. Data were collected through an analysis of 47 documents including coaching materials and FA policies. In addition, an oral history of 16 participants whom had all experienced FA coach education were conducted. This paper presents five findings which explain the development of pedagogy over time. The findings illustrate a move away from oppressive, dogmatic pedagogical methods towards a more liberating form of coach education policy. For example, FA formal coach education policy now embraces in-situ methods to situate learning in the lives of coaches. The paper supports the trajectory towards liberation by advocating for more humility and critical-consciousness between tutors and coaches, thus rejecting the concept of banking education. In doing so the paper makes three novel contributions by; (1) describing the development of FA coach education over time; (2) introducing a Freirean theoretical perspective to coach education research; and (3) prompting course tutors to consider how they can enhance their practice to be more liberating. These lessons may benefit educators both in football and other contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-697
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number6
Early online date17 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

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