There’s more to coaching than the context: A Bourdieusian account of an embodied athlete

Edmund Barker (Lead Author), Jake Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


A growing body of work focuses on coach and athlete agency within the complex, social field of coaching. Little attention, however, has been given to athletes’ life histories and how these might influence their engagement with the coaching process. The purpose of this paper is to examine how key and cumulative events in Faye’s (all names are pseudonym) life influenced her engagement in distance running and with the coach with whom she worked. The findings highlight that, whilst Faye’s preferences were not entirely stable, she was predisposed towards a specific type of coach, in this instance, Dave. Dave promoted working conditions that encouraged athletes to see their bodies-as-machines, to follow his orders, and not to take short-cuts. Although, on the surface, Faye ‘bought into’ Dave’s coaching, the dialectical interactions between the established set of working conditions and Faye’s embodiment raise a number of questions pertinent to coaching scholars and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
Number of pages17
JournalSports Coaching Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Habitus
  • Distance Running
  • life history
  • athlete embodiment

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