The professionalization of sports coaching
The landscape of professionalism in relation to sports coaching has been subject to many pressures and tensions over the last decade (Taylor & Garratt 2010a, 2010b). A principal reason for this has been the absence of accord about what actually constitutes the activity; that is, agreement as to coaching’s ‘particular traditions, cultures and practices’ (Taylor & Garratt 2010a: 125). Although a call for such consensus has recently appeared in the literature (Jones et al. 2014; North 2013; Taylor & Garratt 2010b), developments to date have only limitedly succeeded in affecting the emergence of sports coaching as a profession. This lack of progress has been exacerbated by more general unsuccessful attempts to ‘clarify the differences between professions and other occupations, and identifying what makes professions distinctive’ (Evetts 2012: 2). Consequently, for coaching to be considered a profession, a unique identity and discourse is required. It is only be virtue of progressively engaging with related attributes that coaches can be considered professionals and coaching a profession. Of crucial importance, however, is that such a discourse should go well beyond limited categorization and prescription of practice. Rather, it should be explicitly grounded in the critical scrutiny of ideas, theories, ethical values and empirical evidence.