Research project to inspire sports coaches from disadvantaged communities

Researchers from Loughborough University have joined forces with charity Sporting Communities to help inspire the next generation of coaches from BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) backgrounds to be able to secure paid coaching roles.

The project – which is currently being conducted remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak – will see Loughborough academics facilitating learning around how individuals can be supported to take up active and paid coaching roles in communities with high rates of socio-economic disadvantage.Sporting Communities is an ethical, not for profit community interest company and the pilot, funded by Sport England, will engage coaches from the Staffordshire and Derbyshire regions.

The coaches will receive regular training and support over the coming year provided by Sporting Communities and other partners including UK Coaching. The project will focus around the 5 stages of Sport England’s workforce development plan; Recruit, Deploy, Develop, Employ, Retain.

The research is split into two phases.

In phase one, telephone interviews will be conducted with a sample of coaches to examine their prior experiences and motivations including details of any qualifications gained and their future aspirations and intentions within sport.

All recruited coaches will then be asked to complete a short online survey that will examine their attitudes towards coaching. This survey will be repeated at the end of the pilot detailing any changes in attitude and behaviours.

Phase two will consist of follow-up interviews with the coaches to understand their experiences of the pilot. At this stage advice and practical methods will be given on how to overcome any potential barriers.

Interviews will be also conducted with mentors and external stakeholders. Discussion points will include the sharing of observations and learning, the benefits and the challenges they have faced, and any potential improvements and recommendations for best practice.

Dr Carolynne Mason, Lecturer in Sport Management within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, explained:

“We are excited to be working with Sporting Communities on this important project to reduce inequality within the coaching workforce. We know that whilst 14% of volunteer coaches are BAMER only 3% of the paid coaching workforce are BAMER. The learning from this project will help ensure that more BAMER coaches are recruited and retained to the workforce in the future.”

The project is also supported by Loughborough University’s Dr Stephen Bradbury and Research Associate Hayley Musson.

The research findings will be summarised in a final report which will include key learning from the pilot and recommendations for future practice. The delivery of the project commenced this month and will be completed in March 2021.