The role of community sports coaches in creating optimal social conditions for life skill development and transferability - a salutogenic perspective

S. Super*, K.T. Verkooijen, M.A. Koelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sport is widely recognised as having the potential to enhance the personal development of socially vulnerable youth, yet there is very limited knowledge on how community sports coaches can create optimal social conditions for life skill development and transferability. We adopt a salutogenic approach in order to study whether and how community sports coaches create these optimal social conditions. Based on the salutogenic framework, a thematic analysis was conducted of 15 in-depth interviews with community sports coaches providing sports lessons to socially vulnerable youth. As part of the interviews, the sports coaches were presented with several training scenarios and asked how they would respond in specific training situations. The results showed that the sports coaches aimed to create meaningful sporting experiences for youths. These meaningful sporting experiences were considered a precondition for keeping youths engaged in the sporting activities, as well as a precondition for life skill development. The sports coaches specifically focused on creating little moments of success and on making sure that the youths felt they belonged to a group. In order to ensure that the youths could experience moments of success, specific coaching strategies were implemented to increase the youths’ comprehensibility and manageability in specific sport situations. According to the sports coaches, experiencing little moments of success could contribute to an increase in socially vulnerable youths’ understanding of the everyday challenges that they face, as well as contribute to their ability to deal with these challenges. Creating meaningful sporting experiences may help youths ‘to learn to cope' – a skill that could be beneficial over their lifespan and in different societal domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-185
JournalSport, Education and Society
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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