POWER AND DISCOURSE WITHIN UNIVERSITY PERFORMANCE SPORT
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Previous studies have focused on the coach-athlete relationship within a professional sporting environment. However areas such as elite amateur sport have been ignored. The purpose of this paper was to explore the coaching environment within university team performance sport. Underpinned by Foucault’s disciplinary concept, the paper set out to identify the power relationships and the effect the social context had on the university sports environment. A coach and an athlete from three different sports teams within Cardiff Metropolitan University undertook two focus groups, one for the coaches and the other for the athletes. This process was undertaken to understand the coaches and athletes feelings towards the sporting environment they are embedded within. This was followed by a thematic analysis, identifying various themes that presented themselves within the focus groups. The principle finding of the study was that university sport creates a unique environment where the athletes and coaches respond to each other’s needs and desires, much more than it has been found in various other hostile coaching environments. However it was apparent that the coaches still utilise their position in staff to control their athletes, through various surveillance techniques. It can be concluded that the coaching environment within university sport is extremely complex in it nature, much like other coaching environments. Therefore coaches within universities should continue to consider the environment they coach in and the behaviours they acquire, to enhance their athletes performance.
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