The Influence of Coaches' Life Experience on Sport-Based Youth Development Programming


Researchers have examined the role of youth sport coaches in facilitating Sports-based Youth Development (SBYD) programs to reveal that an intentional approach to development from coaches can play an important part in the development of young people into thriving adults. However, little is known about the relationship between coach intentions and developmental outcomes through SBYD programs for youth from low socio-economic status neighbourhoods (side-lined youth). This study explores the coaching approaches of 9 coaches who facilitate SBYD programming for side-lined youth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Nine SBYD coaches (4 males ages 25-50 and 5 females ages 26-39) were interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of coach approaches to the development of side-lined youth through sport. A thematic analysis revealed a difference of perspectives on the intentions towards development between coaches with lived experiences (i.e., facilitators who gained knowledge about the experiences of side-lined youth through their own experiences as a side-lined youth), in comparison to those with learned experiences (i.e., coaches who gained personal knowledge of the side-lined demographic through secondary methods such as reading and witnessing rather than facing the same lifestyle challenges). A logic model was used to illustrate the more empowering outcomes of the approaches of those with lived experience in comparison to the more socializing outcomes of those with learned experiences. The results highlight the value of coaches' life experience and the role it may play in sport program facilitation for side-lined youth, and reveals possible avenues for coach training interventions.