Looking for boundary spanners: an exploratory study of critical experiences of coaches in sport-for-development programmes

Karen Van der Veken, Kevin Harris, Pascal Delheye, Emelien Lauwerier, Sara Willems

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Given that sport-for-development (SfD) requires the intentional use of sport as a tool to realize developmental goals in complex contexts, there is a need for reflexive SfD coaches who can successfully contribute to the delivery of programmes. In this study, we explore the lived experiences of SfD coaches in a selection of programmes in Flanders, Belgium. We look at their responsibilities, perceived competencies and the conditions that need to be in place in order to realize SfD goals. Qualitative data spanning a four-year research project were analysed in order to understand how, why and in what contexts coaches contribute to SfD programmes. The analysis unearthed a boundary-spanning coach profile, establishing emotional connectivity, working in a transprofessional manner, and occupying professional hybridity that adapts to context continuously. These results provide an important contribution for SfD practice and policy, nourishing reflection on the ‘ideal’ SfD coach profile, and how it could be generated within the most complex times.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport, Education and Society
Early online date14 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Sport-for-development
  • boundary spanner
  • coaching
  • social work
  • sport coach

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