Sport coaches as policy actors

an investigation of the interpretation and enactment of disability and inclusion policy in swimming in Victoria Australia

Andrew Hammond, Dawn Penney, Ruth Jeanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper draws upon education policy sociology, and sport coaching literature, in critically examining sport coaches as policy actors. Stephen Ball and colleagues’ conceptualisation of different policy actor positions and roles provided the framework for research that investigated how eight professional swimming coaches in Victoria, Australia, interpreted and enacted disability and inclusion policy. A discourse analysis of semi-structured interviews with the eight coaches reveals the complexities associated with how and why different coaches interpret and enact disability and inclusion policy imperatives in different ways in their specific club contexts. Data are presented that shows coaches adopting multiple and hybrid policy actor positions and roles as disability and inclusion policy was interpreted, translated and ultimately, expressed as pedagogic rules and practices. Our discussion brings to the fore questions about power, agency and control in coaching, while highlighting both limits and possibilities for the enactment of inclusive disability sport policies by swimming coaches working in Victoria, Australia. In conclusion we suggest that this research illustrates that coaches are capable of enacting social change, and have some agency to do so, but at the same time appear constrained by established discourses that shape policy and give important direction to pedagogic practice. We advocate that further in-depth research is required into the coaching policy-practice nexus, particularly as it relates to the advancement of equity and inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Education and Society
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Australian swimming
  • coaching
  • Disability
  • inclusion
  • sport pedagogy
  • Stephen J. Ball

Cite this

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title = "Sport coaches as policy actors: an investigation of the interpretation and enactment of disability and inclusion policy in swimming in Victoria Australia",
abstract = "This paper draws upon education policy sociology, and sport coaching literature, in critically examining sport coaches as policy actors. Stephen Ball and colleagues’ conceptualisation of different policy actor positions and roles provided the framework for research that investigated how eight professional swimming coaches in Victoria, Australia, interpreted and enacted disability and inclusion policy. A discourse analysis of semi-structured interviews with the eight coaches reveals the complexities associated with how and why different coaches interpret and enact disability and inclusion policy imperatives in different ways in their specific club contexts. Data are presented that shows coaches adopting multiple and hybrid policy actor positions and roles as disability and inclusion policy was interpreted, translated and ultimately, expressed as pedagogic rules and practices. Our discussion brings to the fore questions about power, agency and control in coaching, while highlighting both limits and possibilities for the enactment of inclusive disability sport policies by swimming coaches working in Victoria, Australia. In conclusion we suggest that this research illustrates that coaches are capable of enacting social change, and have some agency to do so, but at the same time appear constrained by established discourses that shape policy and give important direction to pedagogic practice. We advocate that further in-depth research is required into the coaching policy-practice nexus, particularly as it relates to the advancement of equity and inclusion.",
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