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ERIC Number: EJ1062778
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Moving Elite Athletes Forward: Examining the Status of Secondary School Elite Athlete Programmes and Available Post-School Options
Brown, Seth
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v20 n4 p442-458 2015
Purpose: The purpose of this study focused specifically on examining the status of and the promotion of two elite athlete programmes (EAPs), the students/elite athlete selection process and available post-school options. The research was guided by Michel Foucault's work in understanding the relationship between power and knowledge. Participants, setting and research design: Two EAPs, a state school with a sport academy option (School A) and a private correspondence school designed specifically for elite athletes (School B), were purposefully selected for the study. Twenty key informant elite athletes and five teachers/coaches became central to the ongoing qualitative data collection for this study. Data collection: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants and teachers/coaches. During the class visits, field notes were recorded using a digital recorder focusing upon key informants' reactions to the course content, their learning experiences and the social interactions between key informants and teachers/coaches. Documents were also collected to contextualise the two EAPs. Data analysis: First, I analysed the data following the method of constant comparison using NVivo, a software package that assists researchers in the analysis of qualitative data. This involved coding the data to identify key themes. After the data were clustered into key themes, I examined the discourses within the themes that positioned both teachers/coaches and elite athletes in particular power relationships using Foucauldian theory. Findings: The findings revealed that elitism within the ranks of the EAP created tension and jealousy amongst the elite athletes as some were more highly prized than others. Furthermore, the elite athletes and sponsors promoted the EAPs and in turn the EAPs and sponsors promoted the achievements and successes of the elite athletes as their skills and knowledge were highly valued in comparison to other students within the school. The EAPs also offered limited post-school options of obtaining an athletic scholarship to study at a university and/or to become a professional athlete. Conclusions: Foucault's theoretical framework of govermentality helped map how the EAPs were talked about within discourses of power, and assisted in understanding how acceptance and resistance by participants normalised practices of social exclusion. The data highlighted the need for EAPs to provide more information about possible post-school options and to develop a critical orientation to the labour market, recognising the relationships between elite sports, knowledge, skills, credentials and post-school options.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand