A citation network analysis of mentoring in sport


Specific to sport, mentoring has been described as a highly effective way for coaches to acquire valuable information, learn roles and responsibilities, and improve individual coaching styles and behaviours. Despite these benefits, empirical research on mentoring in sport is limited. This point is especially concerning in the coaching literature where scholars from around the world have emphasized the need for structured mentoring programs (Bloom, 2013). The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate the sport mentoring literature using citation network analysis (Moore et al., 2005). A comprehensive interdisciplinary literature search was conducted to locate influential mentoring texts (i.e., articles, books, and book chapters). This search resulted in an interdisciplinary mentoring network of 1,819 nodes (i.e., texts) and 10,951 edges (i.e., citation links). In relation to sport mentoring, the findings indicate that this body of research is interwoven into the industrial/organizational psychology literature. Nonetheless, congruent with other mentoring disciplines (e.g., education, nursing), the sport mentoring network remained disconnected (density = 0.062; indegree centrality = 2.97, outdegree centrality = 4.07). Further, the content of texts in the sport mentoring network consisted of mentoring for (a) sport coaches (12 texts), (b) strength and conditioning coaches (five texts), (c) athletes, (two texts), and non-sport (10 texts). Of the sport-specific texts within the sport mentoring network, there were 10 qualitative studies, five literature reviews, and four quantitative studies. The implications of findings will be discussed, including the impact of our findings on coaching science and coach education both in Canada and internationally.