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    Intangible cultural heritages: British sports coaching and amateurism

    Day, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6511-1014 (2021) Intangible cultural heritages: British sports coaching and amateurism. In: Sports Coaching in Europe: Cultural Histories. Routledge Research in Sports History . Routledge, pp. 19-37. ISBN 9780367542689 (hardback); 9781003088448 (ebook)

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    At the 1996 Olympics, Britain finished 36th in the medal table yet only 20 years later the nation was second, a trajectory attributable to a change in the State’s attitudes towards intervention in elite sport, which impacted on many existing sporting traditions. This chapter examines a significant component of these traditions, Britain’s coaching heritage, and its relationship with another intangible heritage, amateurism. By the mid-nineteenth century, a large cohort of professional coaches were successfully plying their trade but when a patrimonial elite graduated from the universities their creation of clubs and associations led to a radical change in the sporting landscape. These men framed their sporting rules around their ethos of amateurism and their societal positions enabled them to impose this vision across all sports. Their exclusion of professional players and coaches resulted in a long-lasting heritage in which the centrality of the volunteer coach, rather than the professional, and a focus on participation, rather than on performance, remained the dominant creed throughout the twentieth century. The argument presented here is that, despite the bureaucratic rationalization of elite sport from the 1990s, the legacy of this intangible heritage is so powerful that the volunteer remains the dominant British coaching model.

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