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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Hands-off sports' coaching: the politics of touch

Previous ESRC research (rated outstanding) illuminated tensions in touching behaviours between professionals and children in education and care settings, and related them to broader concerns around child protection in an increasingly risk-averse society.

Preliminary interviews and media reporting, suggest similar issues in the context of sports coaching, so that touching young sports people has been redefined as dubious and dangerous. As a result, coaches operate within a framework of regulations and guidelines which creates extreme anxiety. For many coaches, a context has been created which has led them to question the risks and benefits of their continuing involvement.

In the run-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, these developments have the potential to put at risk the achievement of key aspects of the intended Games legacy - widened participation and sport for all.

This project aims to broaden the impact of previous work by applying its qualitative methods in a new area so as to provide comparative data. Through interview and observation the project will facilitate and support practitioner debate and intervention. The researchers will ensure that the research and its implications receive widespread publicity and discussion in circles where the power to make a difference resides.

Hands off

Chair: Heather Piper Date: 28 September 2012 Organised event