Understanding Effective Coaching: A Foucauldian Reading of Current Coach Education Frameworks

Zoe Avner, Pirkko Markula, Jim Denison

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Drawing on a modified version of Foucault’s (1972) analysis of discursive formations, we selected key coach education texts in Canada to examine what discourses currently shape effective coaching in Canada in order to detect what choices Canadian coaches have to know about “being an effective coach.” We then compared the most salient aspects of our reading to the International Sport Coaching Framework. Our Foucauldian reading of the two Canadian coach education websites showed that the present set of choices for coaches to practice “effectively” is narrow and that correspondingly the potential for change and innovation is limited in scope. Our comparison with the International Sport Coaching Framework, however, showed more promise as we found that its focus on the development of coach competences allowed for different coaching knowledges and coaching aims than a narrow focus on performance and results. We then conclude this Insights Paper by offering some comments on the implications of our Foucauldian reading as well as some suggestions to address our concerns about the dominance of certain knowledges and the various effects of this dominance for athletes, coaches, coach development and the coaching profession at large.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-109
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2017


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