Power, Conflict, and Cooperation: Toward a Micropolitics of Coaching

Paul Potrac*, Robyn Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


According to Jones, Wells, Peters, and Johnson (1993), being political is a necessary part of a coach's repertoire, because a coach's effectiveness and longevity may depend not only on a favorable win–loss record but also on an individual's ability to gain the approval of contextual power brokers (e.g., athletes, other coaches, or owners). Although only limited research has been done examining power and interpersonal relationships in coaching, there remains a paucity of work investigating the micropolitics inherent in such relationships. The aim of this article is to make the case for how the adoption of a micropolitical perspective could serve to further our understanding of the power-ridden, contested nature of sports coaching. After an introductory examination of the concept of micropolitics in the educational literature, a discussion of how such practice is beginning to emerge in recent ethnographic coaching research is presented. The literature addressing the micropolitical nature of teachers' interactions and relationships with other pedagogical stakeholders is then explored in terms of providing future avenues of critical investigation into the social complexity of coaching. Finally, a concluding section summarizes the main points and highlights their implications for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


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