Call for Papers | Emotions in Sports Coaching, Special Issue of Sports Coaching Review

upset-coachAccording to Denzin (1984), ‘the centrality of emotions at all levels of social life – micro, macro, personal, organisational, political, economic, cultural, and religious – is indisputable’ (p. xiii). Indeed, it has been argued that emotions are never absent from our relationships with, and connections to, other people and the world in which we live (Crossley, 2011). They are, as Crossley (2011, p. 91) eloquently noted, not ‘something that we turn on and off, such that we are sometimes emotional and other times not’. Instead, an individual’s ‘perspective always maintains an affective dimension’, and ‘what varies is the flavour of affect’ (Crossley, 2011, p. 91). Kemper (1978) similarly noted that every social action is accompanied by emotion, with ‘a very large class of emotions resulting from real, imagined, or anticipated outcomes in social relationships’ (p. 43).

While social scientists have paid increasing attention to the centrality of emotions generally (e.g., Barbalet, 2002; Spencer, Walby, & Hunt, 2012; Turner & Stets, 2005), as well as within pedagogical relationships more specifically (e.g., Hargreaves, 2005; Zembylas, 2005, 2011), the coaching literature has remained largely free of emotionality. Perhaps a consequence of examining the discipline and profession in a cognitive manner has been the representation of coaches, coach educators and various other contextual stakeholders (e.g., athletes, support staff, administrators) as predominantly rational, calculating, and dispassionate individuals somehow free from the constraints generated by relations with others. In this respect, the literature has given little consideration to how emotions such as excitement, joy, anger, anxiety, guilt and embarrassment may be produced in, as well as through, the social interactions and contextual relationships that comprise various coaching settings. Similarly, there has been a paucity of critical inquiry that has illuminated the ways in which these emotions are embodied in the practice of individuals and groups. This limited appreciation of the emotional ‘self’ and emotional ‘other’ in both the coaching and coach education literature has arguably contributed to the production of ‘inhuman account[s]’ of what are, in reality, inherently relational, social and emotional activities (Connell, 1985, p. 4; Nelson, Potrac, Gilbourne, Allanson, Gale, & Marshall, 2013).

The aim of this special issue of Sports Coaching Review is to generate new theoretical and empirical knowledge which enhances our understanding of the emotions inherent within coaching (and coach education) contexts. This is particularly in relation to the interrelationships that exist between emotion, cognition, identity, learning, and action. Papers which address, but are not limited to, the following topics are particularly welcome:

  1. The emotional experiences of practice within coaching and coach education settings.
  2. The relationship between emotion, cognition, and decision making in coaching and coach education.. The embodied nature of emotion in coaching and coach education.
  3. The role of emotions in coach learning
  4. Emotional labour in coaching
  5. Power, discourse, and emotion in coaching and coach education.

Submission Instructions

Authors should follow the Submission Guidelines for Authors’ used in every issue of the Sports Coaching Review.

Papers should not exceed 8000 words (including abstract, endnotes and reference list).

Submit original manuscripts to: Editorial Assistant Sofia Santos (

Please address any questions to either Professor Paul Potrac ( or Professor Andy Smith (, at Edge Hill University, UK.

Deadline for submission of papers: 30th November 2014.

Editorial information

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.