Philippe Crisp: Perceptions of community sport coaches on the effectiveness of sport intervention programmes

ChichesterPhil Crisp posterSocial intervention projects using sport as a key vehicle for delivery are frequently used in community development projects. They are promoted either directly or indirectly by broader government policy because there is an inherent, wider belief that sport can contribute to wider behavioural change and non-sport policy objectives (Hylton and Bramham, 2008;  Bloyce and Smith, 2010). Labelled ‘plus sport’ or ‘sport plus’ programmes by Coalter (2003,2007) these programmes use the assumed appropriateness and essence of sport in an effort to ‘hook’ participants but have been questioned regarding their long lasting effectiveness, monitoring, and evaluation.

This research is based upon the perceptions of community coaches and explores their views on the effectiveness of sport intervention programmes. Starting from the premise that coaches’ views cannot be adequately explained through an assumed, or deductive fashion, the research used grounded theory (GT) methodology to systematically analyse the data generated through interviews with nine coaches with significant experience of sport intervention programmes. The framework finally used to explain the data was Jennings et al’s (2006) Critical Youth Empowerment Model. This theoretical framework, with its dimensions of supported environments, meaningful participation, incrementally given roles of responsibility, and contribution to community affairs, seemed to reflect much of what was felt  the coaches ‘do’ or ‘facilitate’ in contributing to the impact and benefits of the programmes in which they worked. And it is in recognising what some (e.g. Coalter, 2003; Coakley, 2011) see as a lack of real empirical evidence for sport’s assumed appropriateness or transformative prowess, that the work of Jennings et al (2006) may be considered an effective tool for future use when dealing with community sport intervention programmes.

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