Cluster for Research into Coaching (CRiC) 5th International Conference 2019


International Coaching Conference, the Arena, University of Worcester, 4-5th September, 2019    

The School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester presents the fifth International Coaching Conference on behalf of the Cluster for Research into Coaching (CRiC) and in association with Sports Coaching Review, Manchester Metropolitan University and Cardiff Metropolitan University.    

This event traditionally attracts an array of leading UK and international scholars in the field of sports coaching.  The conference draws from a broad range of disciplines including pedagogy, sociology, history and law. 

This fifth international conference aims to, once again, provide an invaluable platform from which to discuss some of the most important and contemporary debates in the field of sports coaching.  Clustered around four central themes, the conference will feature two jam-packed days of scholarly discourse and will prove an invaluable opportunity to engage with cutting edge research from some of the leading researchers in sports coaching.

The themes for this conference comprise:

  • The role, value and professional learning of coach developers
  • The multidisciplinary considerations of decision making in coaching
  • Inclusive coaching practice, policy and education
  • Contemporary debates in sports coaching practice  


Registrations will open in 2019


  • Full two-day delegate: £195
  • Single-day delegate: £110
  • Postgraduate student (two-day): £70
  • Postgraduate student (single day): £40

All rates include the full conference programme, refreshments and lunch but do not include accommodation or the Gala Dinner.

Find us:

Travelling to and around Worcester

The University has three main sites: St John's Campus, City Campus and Severn Campus. The St John’s and City Campus are a pleasant 20 minute walk from each other, with the Severn Campus conveniently situated between the two.

For travel details see our find us pages.      

Terms & Conditions/Cancellation Policy for Conferences and Events    

1. If a delegate is unable to attend an event for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the event administrator, someone else from the same institute/organisation.  

2. If a delegate is unable to attend, and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, the following refund arrangements apply:   

- Bookings cancelled more than 30 days before the event will receive a full refund

- Bookings cancelled less than 30 days before the event will not be eligible for a refund   

3. Cancellations made by delegates after a failed visa application will be refunded in full upon receipt of evidence of the visa refusal.   

Refunds will be made in the following ways:   

• For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded

• For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee nominated account.     

Event Cancellation   

We will do our best to ensure that the event goes ahead, but we reserve the right to cancel at any time.  If we do so (other than for reasons outside of our control), we will refund your event fee in full but will have no further liabilities to you.  In particular we will not meet the costs of any pre-booked travel or external accommodation.  

Call for papers

Cluster for Research into Coaching (CRiC)

5th International Coaching Conference, 4th-5th September 2019, University of Worcester, UK


The organising committee of CRiC2019 is delighted to invite abstracts for individual papers to be presented at CRiC2019.  Each individual presentation will comprise a 20 minute delivery followed by a short time for questions.  Each paper will be clustered into a coherent symposia of approximately two other similarly-themed submissions.  Each symposia will be chaired by a peer from the CRiC community.

Your abstract should be aligned to one of the conference themes which comprise:

  • The role, value and professional learning of coach developers
  • The multidisciplinary considerations of decision making in coaching
  • Inclusive coaching practice, policy and education
  • Contemporary debates in sports coaching practice

In order to submit your paper, please complete the CRiC2019 submission form including an abstract of up to 500 words and email to   by 4pm on Friday 15th March 2019.

Following submission, each abstract will be peer-reviewed by two members of the scientific committee and you will subsequently be notified by email of our decision as to whether to accept your paper.

Reviewing criteria:

  • Clarity of the focus of the research
  • Originality of the research
  • Rigour of the research
  • Significance of the research for sports coaching practice, policy or theory

Processes and timescales:

  • Call for abstracts - by 4pm, Friday 15 March 2019                 
  • Emailed receipt of abstract - within two working days of submission    
  • Authors notified of decision - Friday 29 March 2019            
  • Early bird registration opens -  Monday 1 April 2019           
  • Early bird registration closes - Wednesday 1 May 2019       
  • Presenting authors to be registered - Monday 3 June 2019        
  • Provisional programme announced - Wednesday 15 June 2019         
  • Delegate registrations close -  Friday 5 July 2019

Keynote speakers


Dr Brian Gearity

Theoretical lenses and conceptual bricks: Organizing and mobilizing critical sport coaching research in neoliberal times.

Sociological studies of sport coaching flourished the past 20 years, propelling the entire field forward, making it more visible. Some of the field’s best coach developers and social theorists sparked a revolution in the academic literature. Nowadays, it’s commonplace, but probably just within the academic literature, to hear sport coaching referred to as complex, messy, and occurring within ever changing cultures and relations of power and knowledge. Bourdieu, Foucault, Goffman, Kelchtermans, Noddings, Schon, Wenger are but a few of the theorists that scholars in coach education have drawn upon to shed light on power and previously unnamed experiences or experiences interpreted through a dominant theoretical lens that sucked up our interpretive horizons or multiplicities.

Nowadays, we’re seeing more. And yet, I feel unease. Organizations in sport and coaching don’t, or only superficially, draw upon this work. Students in universities want the easy answers of exercise science or sport psychology, coaches just need some drills for that evening’s practice, or coach developers oblige these consumers, give them want they want, not what they need, and speak of practice, practice, practice, as if it were disconnected from theory. And of course in today’s age, capitalism serves up coaching workshops delivered by faux scholars pumped out to the masses on social media and self-published books, or pop fiction cloaked as a textbook. While we dream these messages fall upon deaf ears, unfortunately the effect of these dominant discourses is to obscure wisdom and progress. So, what’s a scholar to do with their sophisticated theoretical lenses and conceptual tools in neoliberal times? Do we lay some bricks to build an edifice that organizes and mobilizes our institutional power? Or do we throw our bricks through windows and walls made of glass and straw to continue to map and critique sport coaching’s taken for granted assumptions and abuses of power?



Professor John Lyle

CRiC2019, in association with Sports Coaching Review, is delighted to announce: Professor John Lyle, Leeds Beckett University “Re-considering our direction of travel: Bringing pragmatism to sport coaching research” 

For the practitioner, the potency and relevance of research conducted in sport coaching is, in great measure, equal to the truth it speaks to the coach's practice and beliefs. This keynote address challenges the research community to re-evaluate its collective contribution to the sport coaching collective.  

It suggests that a greater sense of humility is required in recognising and accepting the contributions of fellow researchers, and in valuing the coach's capacity to distinguish the 'here and now' from its underlying determinants. Some responsibility must be assumed for translating decision policies and sociocultural complexities into meaningful education and development.


JA profile head and shoulders

Dr Justine Allen

Athlete-centred coaching: Simple, isn’t it?

That coaching practice should be athlete-centred and coaches should place the athlete at the centre of the process has become a common message to practitioners (often from researchers). It is simple, put the athletes first and consider their needs as paramount. For some, this view reinforces beliefs about ‘how coaching should be’. For others, it challenges ‘how things have always been done’ and their experiences of coaching ‘that worked for them and their athletes’. Is this notion of athlete-centred coaching mere rhetoric with good intentions or grounded in an evidence base that reflects the realities of what coaches do and why? This keynote address considers whether the notion of athlete-centred coaching is as simple as it appears. 


Diane M. Culver, PhD


Making a Difference for Coach Development: Supporting and Assessing Learning across Landscapes of Practice 

For the last two decades Dr Diane Culver and her research colleagues have conducted research framed by the concept of communities of practice (CoP) and its underlying theory of social learning. This keynote will explore how coaches and sport organisations can benefit from the scaling up of this concept to the level of the landscape of practice (LoP), which is defined as the conglomerate of CoPs and networks that make up the knowledge of a profession. Examples from applied research with coaches, parasport coaches, and sport organisations will illustrate this landscape approach and how it can increase learning capability. The latest developments of the Value Creation Framework will be revealed along with how it can be used to leverage social learning and as an instrument to measure learning.


Accommodation and dinner


You will need to book your own accommodation for this event.  We recommend any of the following options:     

Conference dinner

Wednesday 4 September  

£40 per person    
Worcestershire County Cricket Club, New Road

Following a welcome drink on the terrace overlooking the ground, delegates will have the opportunity to enjoy a delightful 3-course meal with refreshments while enjoying the venue’s iconic view, its historic ambience and tales from a respected guest speaker.

 Seminar Streams

Think Aloud and sports coaching


Led by: Dr Amy Whitehead

With: Dr Gus Ryrie and Laura Swettenham

The seminar stream ‘Think Aloud and Sports Coaching’ aims to bring together previous research, which has adopted Think aloud protocol to understand athlete cognition, and coach education. The use of Think Aloud involves an athlete, coach or individual verbalising his or her thoughts during the delivery of a task, which is recorded. This method has been used previously to understand how people solve problems and attend to different types of information. Within sport it has been used to understand how an athlete makes decisions and more recently within coaching to help aid reflection. 


Inclusive martial arts coaching



Led by: Dr George Jennings

With: Simon Dodd, Lyn Jehu and Dr Loreozo Perdini

The broad range of disciplines known as the “martial arts” provide a fertile ground for exploring coaching and pedagogy. From Japanese Judo to Indian Kalarippayattu, and from Italian socialist popular boxing (boxe popolare) and Mexican Xilam, these styles reflect and adapt to a range of cultures and philosophies in which we can theorise about teaching and learning. This seminar on “Inclusive Martial Arts Coaching” explores the Theory of Shared Cultivation outline by George Jennings (2010) to illustrate how martial arts can operate within inclusive, supportive and community-based pedagogies in which the individual students, the teachers, the school and the art themselves are continually cultivated over time. Using a range of international case studies from practitioner-researchers and experienced instructors based in the UK (Simon Dodd) and Italy (Lorenzo Pedrini), and those with years practising in Japan (Lyn Jehu) and Mexico (George Jennings), we offer empirical and experiential examples of how a theory can be tested and expanded using concepts local to specific pedagogical settings. 


Developing a multi-/inter-disciplinary framework to explore coaching practice and coach learning and development using critical realism




Led by: Dr Julian North

With: Bob Muir

In 2017, the seminar stream leader published a research monograph on the development of a multi-/inter-disciplinary framework to explore coaching practice using critical realism (North, 2017).  This was a very philosophical/‘academic’ work that attempted to provide secure foundations for a new approach to researching and exploring coaching practice, effective coaching, and coach learning and development.  However, in foregrounding this foundational work, the monograph conceals its very practically focused origins and subsequent application.

This seminar will attempt to do a number of things: (1) show how the development and  utilisation of a critical realist approach to sport coaching emerged from a very practical set of problems encountered by the first author in his role of Head of Research at Sports Coach UK (now UK Coaching) in the period 2003 to 2010 (2) highlight the extent of the practical work undertaken using critical realism in sport coaching (3) provide an overview of how critical realism has been used to explore coaching practice through an embedded relational emergent approach using a number of case study examples (4) provide an overview of how critical realism has been used underpin an approach to coach learning and development, building on the embedded, relational emergent approach, again using a number of case studies (5) show the links between a critical realist approach, and the evaluation methodology, realist evaluation, which has been used to assess a number of coach development and education interventions (6) offer some concluding remarks about where we are with a critical realist position, and where it might go to.

Concussion in sports coaching and physical education: Issues of attitudes, knowledge and informed consent



Led by: Dr Adam White

With: Dr Rachael Bullingham, John Batten and Professor Eric Anderson

The issue of contact rugby within schools’ physical education has garnered widespread media, social and academic attention over the last three-years. The Sport Collision Injury Collective have raised concerns about: (a) The high and serious risk of injury, (b) the lack of training and provision within the school context, (c) contact sport most-often being compulsory, thus lacking informed consent, (d) the lack of attention paid to the rights of the child.

In this seminar, four talks will attend to various issues surrounding the call to ban tackling in schools’ physical education, focusing on why contact rugby is a particularly dangerous activity for young people in its current form. First, based upon the data of over 100 primary schools, the progressive player-development pathway that is age grade rugby will be contested given that it is not adhered to in the school environment and that teachers are lacking training in how to deliver age-grade rugby. Second, utilising empirical evidence from c.30 physical education teachers, Dr Rachael Bullingham will argue that PE teachers are lacking both knowledge and training for both rugby and concussion. As such, alternative non-contact codes of the game should be utilised in the secondary PE curriculum. Third, based upon a sample size of 9% of secondary school students, evidence will be presented to show that rugby union is compulsory in most secondary schools, despite being identified as the highest-risk activity delivered in the PE curriculum. As such, Dr Adam White will argue that due to a lack of informed consent that the risks associated with contact rugby is unacceptable for children. Finally, Professor Eric Anderson will argue that as concussion can lead to structural damage to the brain, which is evident through an array of long-term neurodegenerative conditions, sports with high-rates of concussion that do not outline these risks should be categorised as child abuse.