The Emergence and Development of Sports Coaching in the Twentieth-Century: From vocation to profession

Summary

While the history of coaching and its parallel disciplines (strength and conditioning, sport psychology etc.) has been examined in the United States and Britain in the eighteenth century, no substantive research has examined changes in elite sports coaching in the twentieth century. Therefore, research in this area offers the successful candidate a novel opportunity to generate impactful work, drawing on a number of social science disciplines, mainly history and sociology.

This project offers the researcher an opportunity to undertake ground-breaking original research into the evolution of modern sports coaching as a vocation and/or profession. Here Weber’s work on the everyday meaning of profession and of coaching as a calling will be a useful heuristic tool.  The successful candidate will have unparalleled access to a private collection of coaching-related books, magazines, personal diaries, and correspondence letters amassed by a master sports coach. The project also marks a unique opportunity to conduct research of potential relevance to elite performance more generally and there is scope to both source and integrate other original primary sources.

The successful candidate will be first tasked with the organisation of primary source materials in order to then facilitate the tracing of changes in sports coaching. Here we envisage a practical examination of coaching protocols, training periodization, strength and conditioning, coach education, management of injury and technical knowledge. Particular attention will be given to ‘new’ training practices and how they came to be adapted within the field of sports coaching. Likewise, the project is well situated to chart the professionalisation of informal coaching and interest groups (e.g., training and development courses) over the defined time period.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

Bodnár, I. and Perényi, S., 2012. A socio-historical approach to the professionalisation of sporting occupations in Hungary during the first decades of the twentieth century: the coach. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 29 (8), pp.1097-1124.

Bourne, N.D., 2008. Fast science: A history of training theory and methods for elite runners through 1975. PhD Dissertation. The University of Texas at Austin. Carter, N., 2014. Medicine, Sport and the Body: A Historical Perspective. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Day, D., 2013. Victorian coaching communities: exemplars of traditional coaching practice. Sports Coaching Review, 2 (2), pp.151-162.

Day, D. and Carpenter, T., 2015. A History of Sports Coaching in Britain: Overcoming Amateurism. London: Routledge.

Duffy, P., Hartley, H., Bales, J., Crespo, M., Dick, F., Vardhan, D., Nordmann, L. and Curado, J. 2011. Sport coaching as a ‘profession’: challenges and future directions. International Journal of Coachng Science. 5 (2), pp.93-123.

Guttmann, A., 2004. Sports: The First Five Millennia. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Heffernan, C., 2020. “He ate and pumped”: The Rise and Fall of DL Dowd, America’s Forgotten Fitness Entrepreneur. Journal of Sport History, 47(2), pp.143-160.

Heffernan, C., 2020. Marching Forwards or Backwards? Physical Education and the Army in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland. Sport in Society, 23(8), pp.1280-1298.

Heffernan, C., 2022. State of the Field: Physical Culture. History, 107(374), pp.143-162.

Heggie, V., 2018. A History of British Sports Medicine. Manchester: University Press.

Jones, R., Cushion, P. and Ronglan, L. (eds) 2011. The Sociology of Sports Coaching. London: Routledge.

Lake, R.J., Day, D. and Eaves, S.J., 2019. Coaching and training in British tennis: A history of competing ideals. In Lake, R. and Osborne, C. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Tennis London: Routledge, pp. 39-49.

Liston, K., Gregg, R. and Lowther, J. 2013. Elite sports policy and coaching at the coalface. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics. 5 (3), pp.341-362.

Lyle, J. and Cushion, C., 2016. Sport Coaching Concepts: A framework for coaching practice. London: Routledge.

Mills, J. and Gearity, B. 2016. Toward a sociology of strength and condition coaching, Strength and Conditioning Journal. 38 (3), pp.102-105.

Moustakas, L., Lara-Bercial, S., North, J. and Calvo, G., 2022. Sport coaching systems in the European Union: State of the Nations. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 14 (1), pp.93-110.

Owen, D. and Strong, T. (eds) 2004. Max Weber: The Vocation Lectures. “Science as a Vocation, Politics as a Vocation”. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. Translation by R. Livingstone.

Philipps, M. 2000. From Sidelines to Centre Field: A history of sports coaching in Australia. Sydney: University of South Wales Press.

Shurley, J.P., Todd, J. and Todd, T., 2021. Strength Coaching in America: A History of the Innovation That Transformed Sports. Texas: University of Texas Press.

Taylor, B. and Garratt, D., 2010. The professionalisation of sports coaching: Relations of power, resistance and compliance. Sport, Education and Society, 15 (1), pp.121-139.

Thelwell, R. and Dicks, M. (eds) 2018. The Professionalisation of Sport Coaching. London: Taylor & Francis. Todd, T., 2008. Al Roy: The first modern strength coach. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 79 (8), pp.14-16.

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
mid-April 2023

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Katie Liston

Other supervisors

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