Student Coaches in Sport Education: A Case Study Examination of Their Influence on the Perceptions and Experiences of Their Players


  • Dana Perlman University of Wollongong
  • Greg Forrest University of Wollongong



sport education, self-determination theory, student roles


A developing line of Sport Education (SE) inquiry has been the motivational responses of students. While initial evidence supports that SE can positively influence the motivation of physical education students, there is a continued need for further research in this area. Specifically, there has been call for a deeper examination into the influence that specific features of SE (i.e., roles) have on the outcomes, behaviors, and experiences of physical education students. This study examined the influence of team leaders (i.e., coaches) on the students' experiences and perceptions within their team. This study used a case study approach, with self-determination theory (SDT) as the motivational lens. Qualitative data collection measures of individual and focus group interviews, student journals, and researcher observations and field notes were implemented. Analysis of data was conducted via the constant comparative method and verified with trustworthiness elements of triangulation, member checks, and peer debriefing. Coding of interviews, journals, and observer field notes revealed overarching themes of (a) method of coach selection, (b) knowledge of the sport and practices, (c) leading by example, and (d) managing the downside. The coaches led and coached in a manner that influenced the key psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. While each psychological need was influenced, the level of support seemed to align with the style of coaching delivered. The findings of this study can assist the physical education teacher in designing and implementing the role.

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Author Biographies

Dana Perlman, University of Wollongong

Senior Lecturer in the School of Education

Greg Forrest, University of Wollongong

Senior Lecturer in the School of Education