Elite sports policy and coaching at the coalface

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article marks an important watershed in the investigation of elite sport development in the ‘Atlantic Isles’. It outlines some features of the emergence and development of international elite sports policy and its idiosyncratic diffusion to Northern Ireland (NI) specifically. Drawing on the SPLISS framework and the need for empirical work within Pillar 7 (coaching provision and coaching development), there is also an examination of elite coaches’ perceptions of the policy factors influencing international sporting success. This goes some way towards redressing the dearth of knowledge about the complex social and political realities in which elite coaches ply their trade. A ‘mixed methods’ approach was employed, which incorporated secondary analysis of government and sports policy documents, the historical charting of the elite sports policy field in NI, the completion of an internationally validated survey and also semi-structured interviews with eight high-performance coaches (seven males and one female) who ranged in age from 38 to 59 years. The study demonstrates some of the unique challenges for the dual positioning of NI within Irish and British sports governance arenas. There, the resultant fractured elite sports policy landscape has constrained coaches’ attempts to deliver upon performance targets. There was also less than convincing evidence of a ‘high-performance’ oriented sport culture. The article concludes by bridging the gap between sports policy and social policy in NI and, in so doing, offers some possibilities for developing a more integrated research agenda.
LanguageEnglish
Pages341-362
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2012

Fingerprint

sports policy
coaching
sport
elite
coach
Sports
performance
secondary analysis
government policy
policy
Coaching
Elites
social policy
pillar
governance
positioning
examination
watershed
interview
evidence

Keywords

  • elite sports development
  • talent identification development
  • Northern Ireland
  • elite coaches
  • elite sports policy

Cite this

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title = "Elite sports policy and coaching at the coalface",
abstract = "This article marks an important watershed in the investigation of elite sport development in the ‘Atlantic Isles’. It outlines some features of the emergence and development of international elite sports policy and its idiosyncratic diffusion to Northern Ireland (NI) specifically. Drawing on the SPLISS framework and the need for empirical work within Pillar 7 (coaching provision and coaching development), there is also an examination of elite coaches’ perceptions of the policy factors influencing international sporting success. This goes some way towards redressing the dearth of knowledge about the complex social and political realities in which elite coaches ply their trade. A ‘mixed methods’ approach was employed, which incorporated secondary analysis of government and sports policy documents, the historical charting of the elite sports policy field in NI, the completion of an internationally validated survey and also semi-structured interviews with eight high-performance coaches (seven males and one female) who ranged in age from 38 to 59 years. The study demonstrates some of the unique challenges for the dual positioning of NI within Irish and British sports governance arenas. There, the resultant fractured elite sports policy landscape has constrained coaches’ attempts to deliver upon performance targets. There was also less than convincing evidence of a ‘high-performance’ oriented sport culture. The article concludes by bridging the gap between sports policy and social policy in NI and, in so doing, offers some possibilities for developing a more integrated research agenda.",
keywords = "elite sports development, talent identification development, Northern Ireland, elite coaches, elite sports policy",
author = "Katie/K Liston and Robin Gregg and Jim Lowther",
note = "Reference text: Allison, L., ed., 1993. The changing politics of sport. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Australian Government, 2010. Australian sport: the pathway to success. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Bairner, A., 2001. Sport, nationalism, and globalization: European and North American perspectives. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Bibble, S., et al., 2001. Research methods in sport and exercise psychology: quantitative and qualitative issues. Journal of sports sciences, 19, 777–809. Bloyce, D. and Smith, A., 2010. Sport policy and development: an introduction. London: Routledge. Bompa, T., 1994. Theory and methodology of training: the key to athletic training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Bowen, G., 2008. Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: a research note. Qualitative research, 8 (1), 137–152. Chalip, L., 1995. Policy analysis in sport management. Journal of sport management, 9, 1–13. Coalter, F., 2010. A wider social role for sport: who’s keeping the score? London: Routledge. Cohen, L. and Manion, L., 2000. Research methods in education. 5th ed. London: Routledge. Collins, M., 2008. Public policies on sports development: can mass and elite sport hold together? In: V. Girginov, ed. Management of sports development. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 59–87. Collins, N. and McCann, F., eds., 1993. Irish politics today. Manchester: Manchester University Press. C{\^o}t{\'e}, J., et al., 2007. Towards a definition of excellence in sports coaching. International journal of coaching science, 1, 3–17. Creswell, J. and Plano Clark, V., 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. London: Sage. Cronin, M., Murphy, W., and Rouse, P., eds., 2009. The Gaelic athletic association 1884–2009. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2006. A conceptual framework for analysing Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success. European sport management quarterly, 6 (2), 185–215. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2008. The Global Sporting Arms Race: an international comparative study on Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success. Oxford: Meyer & Meyer. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2010. Developing a method for comparing the elite sport systems and policies of nations: a mixed methods approach. Journal of sport management, 24, 567–600. De Bosscher, V., van Bottenburg, M., and Shibli, S., 2011. Talent development: a comparative factor in international elite sports. Paper presented in copenhagen, May 2011. Available from: www.teamdanmark.dk/~/media/Team{\%}20Danmark/Media{\%}20Archive/Documents/Forside/ Fokusomraader/Talentudvikling/Fremtidssymposium-2011/Presentation{\%}20Veerle{\%}20De{\%} 20Bosscher{\%}20et{\%}20al-printable.ashx [Accessed 20 April 2012]. Denzin, N., 2006. Sociological methods: a sourcebook (methodological perspectives). New York: Aldine Transaction Publishers. Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, 1997. Strategy for the development of sport 1997 – 2005. Belfast: DCAL. Downloaded by [Katie Liston] at 04:52 19 November 2012 Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, 2009. Sport matters: the Northern Ireland strategy for sport and physical recreation 2009–2019. Belfast: DCAL. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001. Elite sports funding review (Report of the Review Group chaired by the Rt Hon. Dr. Jack Cunningham MP). London: DCMS. Duffy, P., et al., 2001. Factors promoting and inhibiting the success of high performance players and athletes in Ireland. University of Limerick: National Coaching and Training Centre. Available from: www.coachingireland.com/press/subs/Success{\%}20Factors{\%}20STUDY.doc [Accessed 1 June 2012]. Erickson, K., C{\^o}t{\'e}, J., and Fraser-Thomas, J., 2007. The sport experiences, milestones, and educational activities associated with the development of high-performance coaches. Sport psychologist, 21 (3), 302–316. Festle, M., 1996. Playing nice: politics and apologies in women’s sports. New York: Columbia University Press. Fielding, N., 2010. Mixed methods research in the real world. International journal of social research methodology, 13 (2), 127–138. Fletcher, D. and Arnold, R., 2011. A qualitative study of performance leadership and management in elite sport. Journal of applied sport psychology, 23, 223–242. Garnham, N., 2004. Association football and society in pre-partition Ireland. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. Garrigou, A., 2006. Illusio in sport. Sport in society, 9 (4), 665–673. Gibbs, G., 2007. Analysing qualitative data. London: Sage. Gliner, J. and Morgan, A., 2000. Research methods in applied settings: an integrated approach to design and analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Gould, D., et al., 1990. Educational needs of elite U.S. National Team, Pan American, and Olympic Coaches. Journal of teaching in physical education, 9 (4), 332–344. Gould, D., et al., 2002. A survey of U.S. Olympic Coaches: variables perceived to have influenced athlete performances and coach effectiveness. The sports psychologist, 16, 229–250. Gratton, C. and Jones., I., 2010. Research methods for sports studies. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. Gray, A.M. and Birrell, D., 2011. Coalition government in Northern Ireland: social policy and the lowest common denominator thesis. Social policy and society, 11 (1), 15–25. Green, K., 2008. Understanding physical education. London: Sage. Green, M. and Houlihan, B., 2005. Elite sport development: policy learning and political priorities. London: Routledge. Green, M. and Oakley, B., 2001. Elite sport development systems and playing to win: uniformity and diversity in international approaches. Leisure studies, 20, 247–267. Gruneau, R., 2006. “Amateurism” as a sociological problem: some reflections inspired by Eric dunning. Sport in society, 9 (4), 559–582. Hassan, D., McCullough, S., and Moreland, E., 2009. North or South? Darron Gibson and the issue of player eligibility within Irish soccer. Sport in society, 10 (6), 740–753. Henderson, K., et al., 1999. Notes on linking qualitative and quantitative data: the cross cultural physical activity participation study. Leisure sciences, 21, 247–255. Hoberman, J., 1993. Sport and ideology in the post-communist age. In: L. Allison, ed. The changing politics of sport. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 15–36. Hoberman, J., 2004. Sportive nationalism and globalization. In: J. Bale and M.K. Christensen, eds. Post-Olympism? Questioning the sport in the twenty-first century. Oxford: Berg, 177–188. Houlihan, B., 1994. Sport and international politics. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester-Wheatsheaf. Houlihan, B., 1997. Sport policy and politics: a comparative analysis. London: Routledge. Houlihan, B., 2008. An analysis of the mechanisms of the internationalisation of elite sport development systems. Paper presented at the Political Studies Association conference. University of Swansea, April 2008. Available from: www.psa.ac.uk/2008/pps/Houlihan.pdf [Accessed 12 May 2012]. Houlihan, B., Bloyce, D., and Smith, A., 2009. Editorial: developing the research agenda in sport policy. International journal of sport policy, 1 (1), 1–12. Houlihan, B. and Green, M., 2008. Comparative elite sport development. In: B. Houlihan and Green, M., eds. Comparative elite sport development: systems, structures and public policy. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1–21. Johnson, R. and Onwuegbuzie, A., 2004. Mixed methods research: a research paradigm whose time has come. Educational researcher, 33 (7), 14–26. Downloaded by [Katie Liston] at 04:52 19 November 2012. Jones, R., Armour, K., and Potrac, P., 2004. Sports coaching cultures: from practice to theory. London: Routledge. Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S., 2008. Interviews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Liston, K., 2005. Playing the masculine/feminine game: a sociological analysis of the fields of sport and gender in the republic of Ireland. Thesis (PhD). University College Dublin Library, Dublin. Liston, K. and Moreland, E., 2009. Hockey and habitus: sport and national identity in Northern Ireland. New Hibernia review, 13 (4), 127–140. Lyle, J., 2002. Sports coaching concepts: a framework for coaches behaviour. London: Routledge. McCarthy, K., 2011. Gold, silver and green: the Irish Olympic journey 1896-1924. Cork: Cork University Press. McLaughlin, E., 2005. Governance and social policy in Northern Ireland (1999-2–2): the devolution years and postscript. In: M. Powell, Bauld, L., and Clarke, J., eds. Social policy review 17, analysis and debate in social policy 2005. Bristol: The Policy Press, 107–124. Messner, M., Duncan, M., and Cooky, C., 2003. Silence, sports bras, and wrestling porn: women in televised sports news and highlights shows. Journal of sport and social issues, 27, 38–51. Palys, T., 2008. Purposive sampling. In: L. Given, ed. The sage encyclopaedia of qualitative research methods, Vol. 2. London: Sage, 697–698. Pawson, R., 2006. Evidence-based policy: a realist perspective. London: Sage. Penney, D. and Evans, J., 2005. Policy, power and politics in physical education. In: K. Green and Hardman, K., eds. Physical education: essential issues. London: Sage, 21–38. Potrac, P. and Jones, R., 2009. Power, conflict and co-operation: towards a micropolitics of coaching. Quest, 61, 223–236. Saury, J. and Durand, M., 1998. Practical knowledge in expert coaches: on site study of coaching in sailing. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 69 (3), 254–266. Scanlan, T., Ravizza, K., and Stein, G., 1989. An in-depth study of former figure skaters: II. Sources of enjoyment. Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 11, 65–83. Silverman, D., 2006. Interpreting qualitative data: methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. 3rd ed. London: Sage. Smith, M., 2010. Research methods in sport. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Sparkes, A. and Templin, T., 1992. Life histories and physical education teachers: exploring the meanings of marginality. In: A. Sparkes, ed. Research in physical education and sport: exploring alternative visions. London: The Falmer Press, 118–145. Sport Northern Ireland, 2010a. An analysis of Northern Ireland’s performance in the commonwealth games 1950–2010. Belfast: Sport Northern Ireland. Available from: http://www.sportni.net/NR/ rdonlyres/A5CAD177-8225-478E-97B9-1C5FE7BABAA0/0/SNI_Comm_Games_singles.pdf [Accessed 12 May 2012]. Sport Northern Ireland, 2010b. A survey of the athletes on the athlete support programme. Belfast: Sport Northern Ireland/SIRC. Sport Northern Ireland, 2011. Current numbers of national governing bodies. Available from: www. sportni.net/performancesport/governing+bodies [Accessed 31 May 2012]. Sport Northern Ireland, 2012. The Northern Ireland sport and physical activity survey 2010: a baseline report. Belfast: SNI and Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure. Sports Council for Northern Ireland, 2006. Melbourne 2006 review: a review of the preparation and performance of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council Team in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Belfast: SCNI. Stewart, B., et al., 2004. Australian sport: better by design? The Evolution of Australian Sport Policy. London: Routledge. Sugden, J. and Bairner, A., 1993. Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a divided Ireland. London: Leicester University Press. Taylor, B. and Garratt, D., 2010. The professionalization of sports coaching: relations of power, resistance and compliance. Sport, education and society, 15 (1), 121–139. Vaeyens, R., et al., 2008. Talent identification and Development Programmes in Sport: current models and future directions. Sports medicine, 38 (9), 703–714. van Bottenburg, M., 2000. Het topsportklimaat in Nederland [The elite sports climate in the Netherlands]. ’s-Hertogenbosch: Diopter-Janssens and van Bottenburg bv. Young, K., 1977. Values in the policy process. Policy and politics, 5 (2), 1–22.",
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Elite sports policy and coaching at the coalface. / Liston, Katie/K; Gregg, Robin; Lowther, Jim.

In: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Vol. 5, No. 3, 19.11.2012, p. 341-362.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N1 - Reference text: Allison, L., ed., 1993. The changing politics of sport. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Australian Government, 2010. Australian sport: the pathway to success. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Bairner, A., 2001. Sport, nationalism, and globalization: European and North American perspectives. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Bibble, S., et al., 2001. Research methods in sport and exercise psychology: quantitative and qualitative issues. Journal of sports sciences, 19, 777–809. Bloyce, D. and Smith, A., 2010. Sport policy and development: an introduction. London: Routledge. Bompa, T., 1994. Theory and methodology of training: the key to athletic training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Bowen, G., 2008. Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: a research note. Qualitative research, 8 (1), 137–152. Chalip, L., 1995. Policy analysis in sport management. Journal of sport management, 9, 1–13. Coalter, F., 2010. A wider social role for sport: who’s keeping the score? London: Routledge. Cohen, L. and Manion, L., 2000. Research methods in education. 5th ed. London: Routledge. Collins, M., 2008. Public policies on sports development: can mass and elite sport hold together? In: V. Girginov, ed. Management of sports development. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 59–87. Collins, N. and McCann, F., eds., 1993. Irish politics today. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Côté, J., et al., 2007. Towards a definition of excellence in sports coaching. International journal of coaching science, 1, 3–17. Creswell, J. and Plano Clark, V., 2007. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. London: Sage. Cronin, M., Murphy, W., and Rouse, P., eds., 2009. The Gaelic athletic association 1884–2009. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2006. A conceptual framework for analysing Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success. European sport management quarterly, 6 (2), 185–215. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2008. The Global Sporting Arms Race: an international comparative study on Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success. Oxford: Meyer & Meyer. De Bosscher, V., et al., 2010. Developing a method for comparing the elite sport systems and policies of nations: a mixed methods approach. Journal of sport management, 24, 567–600. De Bosscher, V., van Bottenburg, M., and Shibli, S., 2011. Talent development: a comparative factor in international elite sports. Paper presented in copenhagen, May 2011. Available from: www.teamdanmark.dk/~/media/Team%20Danmark/Media%20Archive/Documents/Forside/ Fokusomraader/Talentudvikling/Fremtidssymposium-2011/Presentation%20Veerle%20De% 20Bosscher%20et%20al-printable.ashx [Accessed 20 April 2012]. Denzin, N., 2006. Sociological methods: a sourcebook (methodological perspectives). New York: Aldine Transaction Publishers. Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, 1997. Strategy for the development of sport 1997 – 2005. Belfast: DCAL. Downloaded by [Katie Liston] at 04:52 19 November 2012 Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, 2009. Sport matters: the Northern Ireland strategy for sport and physical recreation 2009–2019. Belfast: DCAL. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001. Elite sports funding review (Report of the Review Group chaired by the Rt Hon. Dr. Jack Cunningham MP). London: DCMS. Duffy, P., et al., 2001. Factors promoting and inhibiting the success of high performance players and athletes in Ireland. University of Limerick: National Coaching and Training Centre. Available from: www.coachingireland.com/press/subs/Success%20Factors%20STUDY.doc [Accessed 1 June 2012]. Erickson, K., Côté, J., and Fraser-Thomas, J., 2007. The sport experiences, milestones, and educational activities associated with the development of high-performance coaches. Sport psychologist, 21 (3), 302–316. Festle, M., 1996. Playing nice: politics and apologies in women’s sports. New York: Columbia University Press. Fielding, N., 2010. Mixed methods research in the real world. International journal of social research methodology, 13 (2), 127–138. Fletcher, D. and Arnold, R., 2011. A qualitative study of performance leadership and management in elite sport. Journal of applied sport psychology, 23, 223–242. Garnham, N., 2004. Association football and society in pre-partition Ireland. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. Garrigou, A., 2006. Illusio in sport. Sport in society, 9 (4), 665–673. Gibbs, G., 2007. Analysing qualitative data. London: Sage. Gliner, J. and Morgan, A., 2000. Research methods in applied settings: an integrated approach to design and analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Gould, D., et al., 1990. Educational needs of elite U.S. National Team, Pan American, and Olympic Coaches. Journal of teaching in physical education, 9 (4), 332–344. Gould, D., et al., 2002. A survey of U.S. Olympic Coaches: variables perceived to have influenced athlete performances and coach effectiveness. The sports psychologist, 16, 229–250. Gratton, C. and Jones., I., 2010. Research methods for sports studies. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. Gray, A.M. and Birrell, D., 2011. Coalition government in Northern Ireland: social policy and the lowest common denominator thesis. Social policy and society, 11 (1), 15–25. Green, K., 2008. Understanding physical education. London: Sage. Green, M. and Houlihan, B., 2005. Elite sport development: policy learning and political priorities. London: Routledge. Green, M. and Oakley, B., 2001. Elite sport development systems and playing to win: uniformity and diversity in international approaches. Leisure studies, 20, 247–267. Gruneau, R., 2006. “Amateurism” as a sociological problem: some reflections inspired by Eric dunning. Sport in society, 9 (4), 559–582. Hassan, D., McCullough, S., and Moreland, E., 2009. North or South? Darron Gibson and the issue of player eligibility within Irish soccer. Sport in society, 10 (6), 740–753. Henderson, K., et al., 1999. Notes on linking qualitative and quantitative data: the cross cultural physical activity participation study. Leisure sciences, 21, 247–255. Hoberman, J., 1993. Sport and ideology in the post-communist age. In: L. Allison, ed. The changing politics of sport. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 15–36. Hoberman, J., 2004. Sportive nationalism and globalization. In: J. Bale and M.K. Christensen, eds. Post-Olympism? Questioning the sport in the twenty-first century. Oxford: Berg, 177–188. Houlihan, B., 1994. Sport and international politics. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester-Wheatsheaf. Houlihan, B., 1997. Sport policy and politics: a comparative analysis. London: Routledge. Houlihan, B., 2008. An analysis of the mechanisms of the internationalisation of elite sport development systems. Paper presented at the Political Studies Association conference. University of Swansea, April 2008. Available from: www.psa.ac.uk/2008/pps/Houlihan.pdf [Accessed 12 May 2012]. Houlihan, B., Bloyce, D., and Smith, A., 2009. Editorial: developing the research agenda in sport policy. International journal of sport policy, 1 (1), 1–12. Houlihan, B. and Green, M., 2008. Comparative elite sport development. In: B. Houlihan and Green, M., eds. Comparative elite sport development: systems, structures and public policy. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1–21. Johnson, R. and Onwuegbuzie, A., 2004. Mixed methods research: a research paradigm whose time has come. Educational researcher, 33 (7), 14–26. Downloaded by [Katie Liston] at 04:52 19 November 2012. Jones, R., Armour, K., and Potrac, P., 2004. Sports coaching cultures: from practice to theory. London: Routledge. Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S., 2008. Interviews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Liston, K., 2005. Playing the masculine/feminine game: a sociological analysis of the fields of sport and gender in the republic of Ireland. Thesis (PhD). University College Dublin Library, Dublin. Liston, K. and Moreland, E., 2009. Hockey and habitus: sport and national identity in Northern Ireland. New Hibernia review, 13 (4), 127–140. Lyle, J., 2002. Sports coaching concepts: a framework for coaches behaviour. London: Routledge. McCarthy, K., 2011. Gold, silver and green: the Irish Olympic journey 1896-1924. Cork: Cork University Press. McLaughlin, E., 2005. Governance and social policy in Northern Ireland (1999-2–2): the devolution years and postscript. In: M. Powell, Bauld, L., and Clarke, J., eds. Social policy review 17, analysis and debate in social policy 2005. Bristol: The Policy Press, 107–124. Messner, M., Duncan, M., and Cooky, C., 2003. Silence, sports bras, and wrestling porn: women in televised sports news and highlights shows. Journal of sport and social issues, 27, 38–51. Palys, T., 2008. Purposive sampling. In: L. Given, ed. The sage encyclopaedia of qualitative research methods, Vol. 2. London: Sage, 697–698. Pawson, R., 2006. Evidence-based policy: a realist perspective. London: Sage. Penney, D. and Evans, J., 2005. Policy, power and politics in physical education. In: K. Green and Hardman, K., eds. Physical education: essential issues. London: Sage, 21–38. Potrac, P. and Jones, R., 2009. Power, conflict and co-operation: towards a micropolitics of coaching. Quest, 61, 223–236. Saury, J. and Durand, M., 1998. Practical knowledge in expert coaches: on site study of coaching in sailing. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 69 (3), 254–266. Scanlan, T., Ravizza, K., and Stein, G., 1989. An in-depth study of former figure skaters: II. Sources of enjoyment. Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 11, 65–83. Silverman, D., 2006. Interpreting qualitative data: methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. 3rd ed. London: Sage. Smith, M., 2010. Research methods in sport. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Sparkes, A. and Templin, T., 1992. Life histories and physical education teachers: exploring the meanings of marginality. In: A. Sparkes, ed. Research in physical education and sport: exploring alternative visions. London: The Falmer Press, 118–145. Sport Northern Ireland, 2010a. An analysis of Northern Ireland’s performance in the commonwealth games 1950–2010. Belfast: Sport Northern Ireland. Available from: http://www.sportni.net/NR/ rdonlyres/A5CAD177-8225-478E-97B9-1C5FE7BABAA0/0/SNI_Comm_Games_singles.pdf [Accessed 12 May 2012]. Sport Northern Ireland, 2010b. A survey of the athletes on the athlete support programme. Belfast: Sport Northern Ireland/SIRC. Sport Northern Ireland, 2011. Current numbers of national governing bodies. Available from: www. sportni.net/performancesport/governing+bodies [Accessed 31 May 2012]. Sport Northern Ireland, 2012. The Northern Ireland sport and physical activity survey 2010: a baseline report. Belfast: SNI and Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure. Sports Council for Northern Ireland, 2006. Melbourne 2006 review: a review of the preparation and performance of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council Team in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Belfast: SCNI. Stewart, B., et al., 2004. Australian sport: better by design? The Evolution of Australian Sport Policy. London: Routledge. Sugden, J. and Bairner, A., 1993. Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a divided Ireland. London: Leicester University Press. Taylor, B. and Garratt, D., 2010. The professionalization of sports coaching: relations of power, resistance and compliance. Sport, education and society, 15 (1), 121–139. Vaeyens, R., et al., 2008. Talent identification and Development Programmes in Sport: current models and future directions. Sports medicine, 38 (9), 703–714. van Bottenburg, M., 2000. Het topsportklimaat in Nederland [The elite sports climate in the Netherlands]. ’s-Hertogenbosch: Diopter-Janssens and van Bottenburg bv. Young, K., 1977. Values in the policy process. Policy and politics, 5 (2), 1–22.

PY - 2012/11/19

Y1 - 2012/11/19

N2 - This article marks an important watershed in the investigation of elite sport development in the ‘Atlantic Isles’. It outlines some features of the emergence and development of international elite sports policy and its idiosyncratic diffusion to Northern Ireland (NI) specifically. Drawing on the SPLISS framework and the need for empirical work within Pillar 7 (coaching provision and coaching development), there is also an examination of elite coaches’ perceptions of the policy factors influencing international sporting success. This goes some way towards redressing the dearth of knowledge about the complex social and political realities in which elite coaches ply their trade. A ‘mixed methods’ approach was employed, which incorporated secondary analysis of government and sports policy documents, the historical charting of the elite sports policy field in NI, the completion of an internationally validated survey and also semi-structured interviews with eight high-performance coaches (seven males and one female) who ranged in age from 38 to 59 years. The study demonstrates some of the unique challenges for the dual positioning of NI within Irish and British sports governance arenas. There, the resultant fractured elite sports policy landscape has constrained coaches’ attempts to deliver upon performance targets. There was also less than convincing evidence of a ‘high-performance’ oriented sport culture. The article concludes by bridging the gap between sports policy and social policy in NI and, in so doing, offers some possibilities for developing a more integrated research agenda.

AB - This article marks an important watershed in the investigation of elite sport development in the ‘Atlantic Isles’. It outlines some features of the emergence and development of international elite sports policy and its idiosyncratic diffusion to Northern Ireland (NI) specifically. Drawing on the SPLISS framework and the need for empirical work within Pillar 7 (coaching provision and coaching development), there is also an examination of elite coaches’ perceptions of the policy factors influencing international sporting success. This goes some way towards redressing the dearth of knowledge about the complex social and political realities in which elite coaches ply their trade. A ‘mixed methods’ approach was employed, which incorporated secondary analysis of government and sports policy documents, the historical charting of the elite sports policy field in NI, the completion of an internationally validated survey and also semi-structured interviews with eight high-performance coaches (seven males and one female) who ranged in age from 38 to 59 years. The study demonstrates some of the unique challenges for the dual positioning of NI within Irish and British sports governance arenas. There, the resultant fractured elite sports policy landscape has constrained coaches’ attempts to deliver upon performance targets. There was also less than convincing evidence of a ‘high-performance’ oriented sport culture. The article concludes by bridging the gap between sports policy and social policy in NI and, in so doing, offers some possibilities for developing a more integrated research agenda.

KW - elite sports development

KW - talent identification development

KW - Northern Ireland

KW - elite coaches

KW - elite sports policy

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