Sport Coaching

​We are committed to a broad coverage of substantive areas of research interest and methodological orientations. A series of given themes provide the focus for our research activity (under the distinct heading of ‘Coaching’). Our objective is to produce research and publish journal articles, books and book chapters that promote debate on matters related to sports coaching theory and practice. In this way, our purpose is to be predominant in developing a critical body of knowledge for the emerging discipline and profession of sports coaching.


Research / Innovation Areas

Social approaches to coaching

Our work on sociological issues focuses most notably on the inter-active coaching context and how practitioners manage everyday endeavours. Recent work has focused on theorists such as Harold Garfinkel and Erving Goffman, as well investigating the social significance of humour in coaching practice.

Latest publications:

Corsby, C.L.T., Jones, R.L. (2019). The ‘doing’ of sports coaching: Performance, compliance, and manipulation in the workplace. The Sociological Review

Edwards, C. & Jones, R.L. (2018). Humour in sports coaching: 'It's a funny old game'. Sociological Research Online.

Barker, N., and Bailey, J. (2016). There's more to coaching than the context: a Bourdieusian account of an embodied athlete. Sports Coaching Review, 4(1), 41-57.

Jones, R. L., & Corsby, C.L.T. (2015). A case for coach Garfinkel: Decision making and what we already know. Quest, 67(4), 439-449.


The pedagogy of coaching

The pedagogy of coaching has produced research, which includes the critical application of theories of learning and education in practice. In this emerging area of coaching study our work has focused on developing ideas such as pedagogical ‘scaffolding’ and activity theory as well as engaging with how Lev Vygotsky’s principal ideas can aid our understanding of both the act and process of sports coaching.

Latest publications:

Jones, R.L. & Ronglan, L.T. (2018). What do coaches orchestrate? Unravelling the 'quiddity' of practice. Sport, Education and Society. 23(9), 905-915.

Jones, R.L., Thomas, G.Ll., Nunes, R.L. & Viotto Filho, T. (2018). The importance of history, language, change and challenge: What Vygotsky can teach sports coaches. Motriz; Journal of Physical Education, 24(2), e1018166.

Jones, R.L., Edwards, C. & Viotto Filho, I.A.T. (2016). Activity theory, complexity and sports coaching: An epistemology for a discipline. Sport, Education and Society, 21(2), 200-216.

Jones, R.L. & Thomas, G. Ll. (2015). Coaching as 'scaffolded' practice: Further insights into sport pedagogy. Sports Coaching Review, 4(2), 65-79.


The complexity of coaching

This area has concentrates on better understanding the problematic social and interactional nature of sports coaching. Recent postgraduate students have explored areas such as the reality of coaches’ work-based learning activities. Current work is looking at social exchange, micro-politics of elite level coaching and the complexity of caring in coaching practice.


Hardman, A., Bailey, J. & Lord, R. (2014). Care and touch in trampoline-gymnastics: Reflections and analysis from the UK. In H. Piper (Ed.), Touch in sports coaching and physical education: fear, risk and moral panic (pp. 151-166). London: Routledge

Jones, R.L., Bailey, J. & Santos, S. (2013). Coaching, caring and the politics of touch: a visual exploration. Sport, Education and Society, .

Jones, R. L., Bailey, J. & Thompson, I. (2012). Ambiguity, noticing, and orchestration: Further thoughts on managing the complex coaching context. In P. Potrac, W. Gilbert and J. Denison (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of sports coaching (pp. 271-283). London: Routledge.


Coaching education and collaborative learning

Coach education and the development of coaches’ as ‘practical theorists’ has been the focus of this area. More specifically, the work has explored and evaluated innovative approaches such as action research and ethno-drama as to address the practice-theory gap. Many of our current Doctorate in Sport Coaching students are using action research as a methodology to both ‘deconstruct’ and ‘reconstruct’ coaching practice.

Latest & key publications:
Corsby, C.L.T., Thomas, G.Ll. & Santos, M. (In press). Coach Education: (Re)conceptualising how coaches learn. In R. Resende & A. Rui Gomes (Eds.), Coaching for human development and performance in sports. Springer.

Santos, M. and Morgan, K. (2019). Developing creative team gamesplayers: From jazz to sport coaching. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 14(2) 117–125 DOI: 10.1177/1747954119834397

Chapron, J & Morgan, K. (2019). Action research within an elite rugby union coaching group to influence change in coach learning and pedagogic practice. Sports Coaching Review.

Clements, D., & Morgan, K. (2016). Coach development through collaborative action research: enhancing the learning environment within a national talent development system. Sports Coaching Review. Vol. 4 (2), 139–161

Jones, R.L., Morgan, K. & Harris, K. (2012). Developing coaching pedagogy: Seeking a better integration of theory and practice. Sport, Education and Society, 17(3), 313-329.

Group members

Professor Robyn Jones,
Professor of Sport & Social Theory
Dr Charlie Corsby,
Lecturer in Sport Coaching
Senior Lecturer in Coaching Science
Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching


Dr Andy Lane,
Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching
​Dr Kevin Morgan,
Principal Lecturer in Sport Coaching
Lecturer in Sport Coaching
Senior Lecturer in Coaching Science (Group Lead)


​Jake Bailey,
Principal Lecturer
​Luke Hawker,
Lecturer in Sport Coaching
​Daniel Spencer,
Lecturer in Sport Coaching
​Manuel Santos,
Lecturer in Sport Coaching


Mark Samuels,
Senior Lecturer
​Toby Nichols,
Senior Lecturer in Sport
Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching



​PHD StudentsProfessional Doctorate StudentsDoctorate in Sport Coaching
​Chris Baker​Daniel Clements​SeungJoo Baek
​Joana Fonseca​Jason Lewis​Mike Castle
​Oliver Lum​Ian Gardner
​Amber Regardsoe​Jevon Groves
​Andrew Thomas​Dean Holden
​Alice Hunter
​Karl Offord
​Phys Pritchard
​Marink Reedijk
​Julie Williams



British Canoe Union (BCU)
British Gymnastics
Cluster for Research into Coaching (CRiC)
England Volleyball
Football Association (FA)
Football Assiciation of Wales (FAW)
Golf Union of Wales England Netball
High Performance Sport New Zealand ('Coach Accelerator Programme')
Hockey Wales
Sport Wales
Swim Wales
Welsh Gymnastics
Welsh Rowing
Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Norwegian School of Sport Sciences University College Dublin
University College of South East Norway
University of Malaya
University College Dublin
Universidade Estadual Paulista "Julio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) Brazil.
University Paris Est Creteil (UPEC).

Examples of Funding

ESRC studentships

Scaffolding’ players’ learning: A way forward for coaching. Amber Regardsoe, 2019+ ‘

Coach Vygotsky: Developing the pedagogical creativity of coaches: An action research approach. Oliver Lum, 2018+

Trust and distrust in coaching: Better understanding sporting relationships. Chris Baker, 2017+

KESS2 Project

CMK204 : PhD: Development of a health and well-being rugby union activity pathway for the foundation phase (5-7 year old) with the Welsh Rugby Union (PhD student: Andrew Thomas).

Charlie Corsby (PI), Andy Lane (CI) and Robyn Jones (CI) were provisionally awarded a €14k UEFA grant investigating the ‘Mental health of elite coaches’.