CAPITAL AND THE COACH/ATHLETE RELATIONSHIP: AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHY OF PROFESSIONAL ACADEMY RUGBY
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study explores the ambiguous capital and power dynamics within the coach/athlete relationship. Specifically, it utilizes an autoethnographic approach in order to examine the professional sport academy context and the relationships that characterize this environment from an inside perspective. Three progressive narratives were told that centred on critical incidents over the course of a rugby season. These stories originated from data that was logged from noteworthy interactions, conversations and memories throughout the season. The three narratives were analysed immediately after each was told to demonstrate the ever changing capital and power relations and to guide the reader in and out of each story with theoretical signposts (Jones, 2006; Tsang, 2000). They were analysed through Bourdieu’s concept on capital (1977, 1984) alongside appropriate alternative social power theory to further our theoretical understanding of the uncertain nature of the social dynamics that determine the coach/athlete relationship. Findings illustrated the varying characteristics of capital and power within a professional sport academy and built on research from Cushion and Jones (2006) within a similar context. Conclusions show that coaches should be aware of the capital and power dynamics inherent in the coach/athlete relationship. Additionally, coaches within the professional sport academies need to be aware of the consequences their actions have on athlete’s potential professional careers.
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