The adventure sports coach: All show and no substance?

Gray, P., and Collins, D. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7601-0454 (2016) The adventure sports coach: All show and no substance? Journal of Adventure and Outdoor Learning, 16 (2). pp. 160-171. ISSN 1472-9679

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The primary objective of this research was to establish the range of interpersonal strategies, tools and techniques used by adventure sports coaches (ASCs) to influence participants’ actions and behaviours, and to determine where these strategies were acquired. An interpretative approach was employed using semi-structured interviews with a convenience sample of expert paddlesport coaches (n = 4). Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to get close to the data and identify salient topics. Five themes were subsequently identified as fundamental to effective coach–participant interaction: appropriate environment, stories told, knowing the participant, formal training and situational context. The implications are that whilst ASCs have well-developed intuitive social engagement skills, these are not consciously or declaratively employed in coaching sessions, and neither are they used at strategic levels to enhance participant development. Therefore, a multi-layer approach is recommended to help ASCs access and employ these skills that has consequences for the education, training and continued professional development of ASCs.

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