Christianity in sport: the influence of two Christian coaches on the players that they coach
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Previous research (Bennett et al., 2005; Schroeder and Scribner, 2006; Krattenmaker, 2009) has investigated how Christian coaches utilize their position in sport to spread the Christian gospel message to the players that they coach. However, little has been written on the strategies used by Christian coaches and how it is perceived by the players that they coach. Therefore, this study sought to determine how Christianity influenced the culture of two association football clubs by incorporating both coach and athlete perceptions. Interviews, focus groups and observations were used to gather detailed information from two Christian coaches and the players that they coach. Data analysis occurred qualitatively through an in-depth process of coding and theorizing. Results were then presented in a narrative format focussing on the lived experience of the participants from an interpretive paradigmatic viewpoint. The results revealed that the coaches attempted to guide the players towards Christianity through the teaching of biblical values and living the life they desired for the players that they coached. Although the majority of the players denied having a personal faith in Jesus Christ, they testified to having changed their attitude towards Christianity and tried to implement the biblical values both on the pitch and in their social lives. These findings exposed the impact Christian coaches can have on the spiritual and moral development of the players that they coach. Key Words: Christianity; Sport; Coaching Strategies; Biblical Values; Coach and Athlete Perceptions; Qualitative; Interpretivism
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