An analysis of the capacity of volunteer sports coaches as community assets in the Big Society


Resource authors: Mark Griffiths et al.
Project: Volunteer sport coaches as community assets

Although there is some existing research on volunteer sport coaches and their role in community engagement, it tends to be somewhat fragmented and limited, and is located primarily in the national contexts of the USA, Canada and Australia. This analysis of the existing body of empirical evidence suggests that volunteer coach research lacks robustness, rigor and a theoretical grounding from which to design future studies. The available literature is descriptive in format and design, perhaps reflecting the fact that the academic study of sport coaching is a relatively young field. Thus, while it is widely claimed that volunteer coaches can make a range of contributions to the social, physical and moral development of individuals, particularly young people, there is a lack of robust empirical evidence to support such claims. If, therefore, there are growing expectations about the individual and community benefits that volunteer sports coaches can deliver through sports activities, it is imperative that we understand more about the needs, motivations and priorities of this large volunteer workforce.

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