“Walking the Tightrope”: Reflections on Mobilizing Foucauldian Theory Within an Endurance Running Coach Development Intravention

Zoë Avner*, Jim Denison, Tim Konoval, Edward Hall, Kristina Skebo, Royden Radowits, Declan Downie

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper presents our efforts and subsequent reflections in attempting to make Foucauldian theory accessible and relevant to a group of high-performance endurance-running coaches within the context of a coach development intravention and Foucauldian inspired workshop series. Specifically, we reflect upon our efforts to introduce coaches to Foucauldian ideas and concepts such as the knowledge–power–practice triad and upon the tensions we experienced in doing so. These tensions were related to the power of the theory–practice divide to set expectations around what it means to be an effective coach developer and a high-performance coach but also in the main related to our intentions regarding a broader shift in the coaches’ thinking concerning the influence of a number of social forces in the formation of their practices. We contend that coaching scholars invested in mobilizing ways of knowing underpinned by a different logic (e.g., relationally informed ways of knowing) within coaching and coach development settings would benefit from a deeper understanding of the politics of sports coaching knowledge and practice and how relations of power–knowledge impact learning within pedagogical contexts. Such an awareness, we believe, would in turn support more targeted pedagogical frameworks, practices, and strategies specifically aimed at disrupting established relations of power–knowledge and related problematic binary understandings such as the theory–practice divide which stand in the way of more diverse and ethical knowledge production processes in sports coaching and coach development work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Early online date26 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sept 2023

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