Navigating the athlete-to-coach transition: understanding the experiences, philosophies, and practices of British orienteering coaches

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The sport of orienteering has been largely absent from the outdoor and adventure coaching literature. Therefore, we know little about the experiences of orienteering coaches, specifically their journeys into coaching and the influences on their development. Consequently, the aim of this research is to explore British Orienteering coaches’ experiences of the athlete-to-coach transition, with an emphasis on understanding how an athletic past might shape future coaching beliefs, philosophies, and practices. Data were collected via an online qualitative survey involving 84 UK-based orienteering coaches and analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis process. Findings indicate that participants’ routes into and reasons for becoming an orienteering coach varied. Previous orienteering experience functioned as a socialising agent, while enabling individuals to develop technical knowledge, alongside empathy and relatability. Participants articulated the values and beliefs informing their coaching philosophies, which centred on inclusivity, fun, holistic development, and transferable skills. Practical recommendations to support the athlete-to-coach transition and enhance coach education are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Early online date25 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2023

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