Main Article Content

David Elmes


coach-player communication, short-term sports camp, coaching discourse, foreign language anxiety, sports English



Purpose: This study sought to analyze the instructional discourse of top-level coaches to identify the specific language content of coaching discourse in practice.

Methodology: The study analyzed the recorded discourse of four coaches of the West Coast Hockey Prep Camp in Port Alberni, BC, Canada, between 2012 and 2016. Transcriptions of on-ice instructions were analyzed using Provalis QDA Miner v5.0.1 and Provalis WordStat v7.1.6 software to determine word-type and frequency. 

Main findings: The processed corpus of 21,376 words produced 1,022 quantifiable words which were classified into one or more of the categories of single-category language (i.e. General (G), General Slang (GSl), Sports Specific (SS), and Sports General (SG)), or the eight additional multi-category sub-categories (i.e. G/GSl, G/SS, G/SG, SS/SG, GSl/SG, G/SS/SG, G/GSl/SG, and GSl/SS/SG).  Analyses revealed that single-category vocabulary (i.e. G, GSl, SS, and SG) made up 75.2% of the categorized language, with SS (4.6%) and SG (11.1%) making up 15.7% of the total.

Applications: An understanding of the linguistic framework of instructional language in short-term training camps allows athletes to invest greater focus in their athletic performance in camp.  The results offer athletes contextual reference for preparatory language study and authentic linguistic insight for the counter of potential target language anxiety.

Novelty/Originality: Results indicate that top-level coaches relied significantly less on sports-specific word-type to facilitate their instruction and suggest that a general comprehension of English can provide a strong foundation for understanding top-level coaching discourse.  This provides significant insight for athletes harboring concerns for English proficiency and coach-player miscommunication.


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