The fast-tracking of one elite athlete swimmer into a swimming coaching role: a practice contributing to the perpetuation and recycling of abuse in sport?
McMahon, J and Zehntner, C and McGannon, KR and Lang, M, The fast-tracking of one elite athlete swimmer into a swimming coaching role: a practice contributing to the perpetuation and recycling of abuse in sport?, European Journal for Sport and Society, 17, (3) pp. 265-284. ISSN 1613-8171 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2020 European Association for Sociology of Sport
Recently, coach accreditation structures have involved the 'fast-tracking' of former elite athletes into coaching roles. This means that former athletes are having their coach education shortened for their time already served in the sport. Some of the reasons for fast-tracking include the perception that former athletes will quickly gain player respect, and, that they will recycle specific culturally entrenched coaching ideologies. The recycling or perpetuation of culturally entrenched ideologies is problematic given that many forms of harassment and abuse have come to be normalised in sporting contexts. Given that the International Olympic Committee Consensus statement highlighted that coach education is key to preventing harassment and abuse in sport, the lessening or shortening of education for former athletes sits in stark contrast to this recommendation. The aim of this research was to investigate whether one Australian elite swimmer who was fast-tracked into a swimming coaching role post-sport recycled abusive practices that she experienced as an athlete. Using a narrative inquiry approach, this research shows how one coach recycled practices which could be classified as physical and psychological abuse (also known as emotional abuse) because she had normalised them as an athlete. The implications of the fast-tracking of one athlete into a swimming coach role meant that she contributed to the perpetuation of physical and psychological abuse in sport.