How elite football coaches construct tactical knowledge

Gregor Campbell, Russell J J Martindale, Christine Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tactical knowledge is a vital part of sport coaching yet currently there is little research explaining how coaches attain and develop this knowledge. The purpose of this study was to explore the ways which United Kingdom football coaches acquired tactical knowledge. Utilising semi-structured interviews with eight elite coaches, three key features emerged from the data, namely the place of National Governing Body’s (NGB) coach education courses, the importance of networks and the need for self-directed study. Findings suggested that coaches felt constrained, limited by their access to tactical knowledge. This led to a trial-and-error learning process supported by input from sporting organisations and coaches’ peers and mentors. However, evidence suggests that coaches require more tactical support presenting an opportunity for a tactic’s specific development course.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Education & Sport Management
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Feb 2022


  • tactics
  • football
  • trial-and-error
  • support


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