Coach integrity development and practice in English Football: an exploration informed by behaviour change theory and systems thinking

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objectives: Limited research has investigated integrity education within coach development contexts. The study explored coaches’ and coach developers’ experiences of integrity, anti-doping (as a specific integrity issue; WADA, 2023) and overall coach development activities
within English Football. Implementation of initiatives were explored across levels of the coach development system, namely, individual, interpersonal and organisational levels (Bronfenbrenner, 1977).

Design: The study adopted an exploratory, qualitative research design, informed by the Behaviour Change Wheel Meta-Theory (Michie et al., 2011).

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 21 coaches/managers (n = 9) and coach developers (n = 12), aged between 26 and 60 years (Mage = 41, SD = 9.8). Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted (Braun & Clarke, 2020) and five themes generated, capturing coach development experiences.
Results: Clear differences in implementation existed across general coach development activities and those targeting integrity and an'-doping. Specifically, an'-doping coach development activities are limited to awareness raising and coach compliance. However,
other areas of coach development have evolved over 'me. Integrity-related coach development has begun to adopt personal values-informed learning to enhance coach development, whilst general coach development has increasingly aimed to create holistic and coach-led learning environments.

Conclusion: Some integrity issues, such as an'-doping are currently only addressed as individual, compliance-based topics, with limited perceived impact upon actual coaching practices. To initiate coach integrity behaviours, future education should target the wider
coach development system (i.e., interpersonal and organisational levels), through integrating specific integrity topics, such as an'-doping into holistic coach development activities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 29 Nov 2023
EventDivision of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP) Annual Conference - The Place Hotel, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Nov 202329 Nov 2023

Academic conference

Academic conferenceDivision of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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