Here’s Part 9 and the final instalment of my dissertation breakdown. This section wraps up the work so far, including some recommendations for future work and of course, some shoutouts for the incredible people who helped me along the way. – Don’t worry, this one’s a short one!!
Thanks again to those people and to you for reading and getting to this point!
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
It is worth repeating that this research ultimately provides potential good practice examples for coaches in developing leadership, rather than pedagogical frameworks, largely due to the anecdotal nature of discussions and the abstract of leadership being hard to track and measure. Therefore, so the onus is on coaches to develop their own, appropriate interventions with these using these examples as a guide.
Gledhill et al (2017) suggested that some coaches did not see life skill development as ‘their job’ and there are factors at play that suggest that it could be the same with these interviewees and leadership, largely due to, time constraints (PB1) and staff availability (CB3), as for all each of these coaches held an interest in leadership (which played a part in agreeing to take part) they did not necessarily have the time to focus on it fully. Evidently, those with in-club psychology teams (CF5, AC7, SV4) were able to have develop a more thorough programme for developing life skills (including leadership) due to the man hours they could then commit to it and manage it separately, unlike for example, CB3 who acknowledged it is often an emergent conversation with coaches he works with.
Finally, it could be suggested that the ‘traditional leaders’ mentioned earlier in the paper are becoming less common due to the modern world and modern technology, which was a point DW2 raised within his interview. Is leadership in sport falling victim to the 21st century or does it just look even more different that we have historically thought? The hope is that the strategies from the interviewees in this paper will support coaches in these setting to attempt to address these changes and help the drive for more leaders in football, their teams, and young people in general.
RECCOMENDED FUTURE RESEARCH
As noted throughout this work there are some items which could be considered for future research.
First, this study could be repeated with a wider range of coaches, from varied backgrounds and even with a different researcher who could draw different conclusions from discussions from those within this study. Furthermore, a parallel study could take place with coaches in the grassroots game where life skills development may be a bigger consideration for them as their athletes are likely playing sport for enjoyment and so the onus is different to that of the elite setting. As noted in the discussion, the interviews could also be revisited to investigate why coaches had selected said methods to impact upon leadership development with their players.
Second, several diversity matter could come in to play, in which this study could again be repeated but consider a more diverse range of coaches in terms of background, race, gender and even playing experience, with the same to be said for the areas each club operates – i.e., are the values different for coaches in rural and urban areas? Or does the female game reflect different values and strategies?
Finally, once the research on life skills and in particularly leadership development strategies becomes more detailed, research could be carried out into how coaches can support players to transfer traits into their lives away from the game.
My learning journey throughout this MSc with Leeds Beckett University has been phenomenal. I’d like to thank all the lecturers from the course over these 2 years for their support in helping me get to this point, having never experienced University before. Their knowledge and guidance have been incredible, none more so than Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial, who as my supervisory must have heard some real rambles from me – but has also been able to guide me to doing something I never thought I could, to (hopefully) a good standard… even with a pandemic trying to stop us. His work is brilliant, as is he as a person and I hope that we can continue to connect even after this is all done.
Thanks go to all my interviewees and the clubs they are in; without them this research could not and would not exist. I have been inspired by their stories right along the way.
To my classmates’ thanks for the laughs and support throughout the course and it’s such a shame that COVID took away our second year of working together. Some brilliant people in there, with a special thanks to Chris Butt for explaining almost everything we did in layman’s terms and for keeping me sane through a pandemic and writing when I did not know where I was going.
Finally, a thank you to those around me, to Jamie and Wess for recommending I pick up this course and working with me on the grass to put it into action. To the English Schools Football Association for allowing me to study whilst in employment. To Mike for helping me put into words the nonsense my brain often comes out with and to Sophie, my family in friends for being both editors and sounding boards as I went through this process, without them I certainly would have stopped way before this point.