Tracing the journey of a research project investigating global Indigenous Peoples’ participation in sport coaching

Year: 2018

Author: Bennie, Andrew, Apoifis, Nicholas, Marlin, Demelza

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This presentation outlines the journey of a qualitative research project investigating global Indigenous peoples’ participation in sport coaching. The project emerged from an initial question of ‘Why, given the high representation of Indigenous athletes in various high performance sport settings, are there so few Indigenous coaches in these spaces?’ We started with a systematic review of qualitative academic literature, searching for information that specifically reported on Indigenous coaching participation across the globe. We found very limited evidence. This then led to the next phase of research, where we held conversations with Aboriginal Australian coaches (no Torres Strait Islander peoples were available to share their stories) from a variety of team and individual sports in community and high perfromance settings. We found a range of factors that either facilitated or obstructed their coaching pathways. Subsequently, we acted on recommendations from our collaborating coaches, by hosting a community forum to share their stories with the broader public given the way that colonial structures subjugate Indigenous ways of knowing. Next, we co-created a sport coaching and health promotion workshop specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander coaches (also based on recommendations from our conversations with Aboriginal coaches), with the aim of increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in sport coaching roles. We evaluated the first workshop using mixed methods and have presented the findings in a formal report back to our collaborating coaches, our steering committee and Netball Australia and Netball NSW. Overall, we hope that by sharing our story in this presentation we can exemplify how our project evolved over time, while also informing future researchers with examples of conducting research with Indigenous sportspeople.