An exploration of the formative experiences of grassroots rugby coaches and their Impact on coaching practice
: a Bourdieusian analysis

  • Alan Clark

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters by Research


The purpose of this study was to explore the way in which formative experiences of rugby coaches impact on their current practice. Ten coaches took part with a wide range of experience (3 - 32yrs), qualifications (Rugby Right – UKCC L3) and who coached across the age spectrum (U8 – Adult Rugby). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with all participants and these were thematically analysed using Bourdieu’s concepts of field, habitus and capital. The results of this research identified four themes: ‘Role models in early experience’; ‘Brought up in a rugby environment’; ‘Current rugby culture’; and ‘Continued involvement in the game’. The findings of this study suggest the habitus and cultural capital accumulated in their formative years heavily influences their own coaching approach and placement within the coaching field. Further findings suggest a conflict between the coach education offer from Scottish Rugby and the needs of grassroots coaches. There were a number of areas identified for improvement; specifically in coach recruitment and development, with clear expectations required from the governing body. From the findings identified it is suggested further research is conducted to explore coaching within rugby in Scotland.
Date of AwardDec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorRoss Lorimer (Supervisor) & David Holland-Smith (Supervisor)


  • Scottish rugby
  • Coaching
  • Bourdieu
  • Formative experience
  • Influences

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