'Resistance' and 'Negotiation' in the Coach-Athlete Relationship – an Autoethnography from Elite Cycling
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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This piece of research builds on existing work into sports coaching by exploring the intricacies of the coach-athlete relationship. The study uses an autoethnographic approach in an effort to investigate the complex and dynamic relationship that occurred between me, the author and senior squad member of an elite cycling team, and the coach. This unique power sharing relationship was based around two critical incidents presented as short stories. 'Resistance' took place in the middle of a busy competition schedule whereas 'Negotiation' was during the following pre-season. The two stories are separate but connected, with similar social issues of power running through the two contrasting incidents. 'Resistance' captures a small protest held by the team against the coach because of a build-up of growing frustrations of the coach’s incompetence. 'Negotiation' revolves around a team meeting the coach called, due to some players non-attendance at a session after negotiating the change of time for it. The interpretation is channelled and theorised through Nyberg's and Foucault's concepts of power, distinguishing why two events in the same environment with the same coach could make me feel so different. The final thoughts connect the two critical incidents together and the conclusion offers a summary of the paper and the value of autoethnography in understanding the aims of the work.
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