Social inclusion through sport? pedagogical perspectives of Dutch youth sport coaches

Riffi Acharki, Emran ORCID: 0000-0003-3656-4425, Spaaij, Ramon ORCID: 0000-0002-1260-3111 and Nieuwelink, Hessel (2021) Social inclusion through sport? pedagogical perspectives of Dutch youth sport coaches. Sport, Education and Society, 28 (2). pp. 144-158. ISSN 1357-3322


The impact of organized youth sport on youth development depends on various conditions in the pedagogical climate, such as how sport is delivered by youth sport coaches. While this is broadly acknowledged and provides a basis to improve youth sport and its developmental outcomes, little is known about the pedagogical perspectives of youth coaches on their practice. This study uses semi-structured interviews with 32 youth sport coaches in diverse youth sport contexts in the Netherlands. Reflexive data analysis is employed to garner insights into coaches’ role perceptions, coaching goals, and underlying values. The findings show that while youth coaches focus on sport-centered activities, many foreground non-sport dimensions such as life mentoring and working towards social inclusion as critical elements of their work, reflected in five pedagogically-oriented goals: discipline, autonomy, resilience, social abilities, and aspirations. Underlying these goals are pedagogical values such as building and maintaining caring relationships with participants. These goals and values echo scientific literature on pedagogical sport climate conditions (e.g. positive youth development), and challenge notions of youth sport as a performance-oriented and uncaring setting. The results contribute to existing knowledge about youth coaches’ pedagogical orientations, and inform the development of strategies to stimulate positive sport practices and developmental outcomes for participants.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/13573322.2021.2006174
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords social inclusion, youth sport, youth development, perspective of coaches, coaches roles
Citations in Scopus 1 - View on Scopus
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