Culture, development mechanisms and characteristics: building the profile of the optimal youth football coach.

Cameron Campbell, Neil Buchanan, Katherine Burgess, Kay Cooper, Bryan McCann

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Social interaction and relationships lie at the heart of the coaching process. Coaches are no longer limited to developing relationships between themselves and the players (coach-athlete relationship) but are instead exposed to connections within a much “wider web of complex cultural relations” all within the ever-changing and demanding culture. However, relationships can be hostile and untrusting between members of a professional football club which have been identified based on the critical relationships which exist and the structural hierarchy enforced; players, coaches and director of football (dof). The aim of the research was to explore what constitutes the optimum football coach through the perceptions of players, coaches and the dof. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with participants from the same youth football club: dof (n=1), elite football head coach (n=3) and elite youth footballers (n=19), all of whom were all purposefully selected. The same semi-structure interview guide constructed around four general topics of coach learning, coaching styles, coaching philosophy and coach-athlete relationship was used throughout data collection. Inductive thematic analysis was implemented to analysis the data. 490 initial codes emerged which were then collated down until the development of three parallel general dimensions were formed for each participant group: (1) Coaches’ Development Mechanisms, (2) Culture and (3) Coaches’ Qualities. The study reveals that in order to become the optimal head coach for a club the coach must meet a range of different requirements ranging from experience and coach learning to the ability to adhere to a universal club philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 12 Dec 2017


  • youth sport
  • soccer
  • culture
  • coaching


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