Coaching process in international rugby union: an ethnographic case study
Hall, Edward Thomas
Despite widespread acknowledgement of the complex, holistic and context-specific nature of the coaching process, research has rarely focused upon coaching practice as a comprehensive, integrated and situated endeavour. This thesis examined the coaching process of the head coach of a national women's rugby union team using data collected throughout a competitive international season. A methodological bricolage consisting of ethnographic participant observation, systematic practice observations, audio-visual recordings, semi-structured interviews and stimulated recall interviews was adopted to investigate both the broad parameters and detailed properties of the coach's work. Analysis of the data led to the development of a grounded theory of the coaching process, which was found to be constituted by the interactions of the coach, a variety of associates, and the coaching context. Numerous and interrelated personal, social and contextual factors were identified that functioned to create opportunities and challenges that the coach responded to through their practice. The findings contribute to a fuller understanding of the complexity and holism of the coaching process in top-level women's rugby union, as well as a valuable conceptual framework and methodology to guide and conduct future research in different contexts.