Exploring the coach-administrator relationship within the SA cricket development environment

Cedric English, Christine Nash, Russell Martindale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research question: The increased competitive demands placed on modern sports organisations, intensifies pressures on coaches to produce positive results. These factors may increase relational tensions between managerial-sports leaders (administrators) and the leaders of sports teams (coaches). Few studies have explored the challenges facing coaches when attempting to achieve performance success. Utilising institutional logics and the concepts of trust and power, this study investigated the relationship between coaches and administrators by exploring the various interactions and negotiations involved when in the context of competitive demands.

Research methods: The views of thirteen highly experienced cricket coaches, with multi-layered coaching experiences operating in the South African cricket development environment, were recruited for semi-structured interviews, raising several significant themes.

Results and findings: A significant challenge to coaches were administrators exhibiting a lack of understanding of the environment required to develop cricketers, providing areas of conflict such as; perceived differences in priorities leading to non-collaborative, ill-judged and, at times biased decisions; differences in priorities affecting resource allocation to drive and sustain long-term development due short-term financial decision-making and result-driven agendas.

Implications: Theoretically, this research explores how institutional logics, trust and power enhance our understanding of the coach-administrator relationship and have potential research implications for understanding similar dynamic relationships in other sport organisations. Practically, one implication for sports organisations is the role and importance of developing and applying more effective coach performance management system to alleviate potential problems in these relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2020


  • institutional pluralism
  • trust
  • coach relationship
  • South African cricket


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