Social inclusion through sport? Pedagogical perspectives of Dutch youth sport coaches


The impact of organised youth sports on youth development depends on various conditions in the pedagogical climate, such as how the sport is delivered by youth sports coaches. While this is broadly acknowledged and provides a basis to improve youth sports and their developmental outcomes, little is known about the pedagogical perspectives of youth coaches on their practice.

This study uses semi-structured interviews with 32 youth sports coaches in diverse youth sports contexts in the Netherlands. Reflexive data analysis is employed to garner insights into coaches’ role perceptions, coaching goals, and underlying values. The findings show that while youth coaches focus on sport-centred activities, many foreground non-sport dimensions such as life mentoring and working towards social inclusion as critical elements of their work, reflected in five pedagogically-oriented goals: discipline, autonomy, resilience, social abilities, and aspirations. Underlying these goals are pedagogical values such as building and maintaining caring relationships with participants. These goals and values echo scientific literature on pedagogical sport climate conditions (e.g. positive youth development), and challenge notions of youth sport as a performance-oriented and uncaring setting.

The results contribute to existing knowledge about youth coaches’ pedagogical orientations and inform the development of strategies to stimulate positive sports practices and developmental outcomes for participants.

Reference Riffi Acharki, E., Spaaij, R., & Nieuwelink, H. (2023). Social inclusion through sport? Pedagogical perspectives of Dutch youth sport coaches. Sport, Education and Society , 28(2), 144-158.
Published by  Kenniscentrum Onderwijs en Opvoeding 1 January 2023

Publication date

Jan 2023


R. (Ramón) Spaaij


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