Title Card For Episode 1 Season 6 Of Coachcast With Brian Gearity

How Sociology of Sport Impacts Coaching with Brian Gearity

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

In this episode, Dr. Brian Gearity, professor and director of the Master of Arts Sport Coaching program at the University of Denver, talks with Dirk about the intersection of sociology and coaching.

Dr. Gearity, with his extensive experience in sports sociology, coaching and exercise science, provides valuable insights into the complexities of coaching that come from social constructs. The thought-provoking discussion also delves into the difference between sports psychology and sports sociology. After listening to the episode, coaches and athletes will better understand how coaches are shaped by various social factors, from historical contexts to cultural influences.

From the significance of inclusivity in sports to the nuanced societal dynamics that influence team cohesion and performance, Dirk and Dr. Gearity talk through some contemporary challenges that coaches face today. The discussion is a reminder to coaches and athletes that excellence in coaching transcends physical training.

Standout Quotes

“…what does it mean to coach? We all have this intuitive understanding, but that’s been developed through various, you know, knowledges. Right? It’s even practices. We go, we train as athletes. We go watch things on TV. We read magazines or articles. The way that we think about even coaching has all been socialized.”

“In sport and in coaching and teaching, the difference maker isn’t the physiology or the biomechanics. After you’ve kind of get to a sufficient level, it’s really relationships. It’s connection. It’s motivation. It’s the environment that wants to keep you in there and keep you active. And when you lose that, that is when you’re gonna start to lose people and have lower outcomes too.”

“If we combine the social sciences on emotions too, the emotions trigger lifelong memories. And so what you just said, too, I thought about at least four different incidents from being an athlete to a coach where it was good and bad. They were all highly emotionally charged incidents.”

“With with AI, with, you know, the Internet and with social media, people are like, oh, right. Like, we have so much knowledge in our hands. Do you? You don’t really have necessarily quality control or trustworthy mechanisms in that knowledge. And you also have so much in today’s age that you’re totally overloaded in this stuff.”

Brian Gearity On the Prevalence of Technology

“When you say the art of coaching, what are we talking about? What are we really talking about? Like, you’re not painting. You’re not sculpting. You’re not, like, doing those sorts of things like an artist. You’re not creating music in that. So what are you really talking about? What we’re talking about, which [Robin Jones] argued in this paper, is the social complexities and the general messiness of coaching. Like the milieu.

…what is the milieu? It’s this weird space that we can’t really describe that’s kind of there. Energy, emotions, the physical corporal things of things, your subjective embodiment, your interpretation of what things mean. That is the sort of messiness and multifactorial and the multiple connections that you’re constantly making. That tends to be more, I think, sociological. So art is nothing more than, in this instance, where we, in most cases, what we really mean by this; it’s complex, dynamic. It changes. It’s multifactorial.

It’s not something that is, like, creative and unknown and mysterious and mystical. Right? Sometimes we use that word ‘art’ when we’re not sure about things. Well, guess what? You’ve never been sure about anything.”

“Having a degree and knowledge this specific to something that you do, makes a difference, you know, for the better, on average. It seems like a wild claim that I even kind of hesitate to make, but, in today’s age, would you want your — and on average — would you want your doctor not going to school or having some sort of qualification, we’d say no. Right? It’s too haphazard. You know, same thing. I would I would not want Joe Schmo off the street to design my program. And, yeah, I mean, they can think very creatively because they haven’t had the same socialization experiences, but with a high-quality education, you learn to think. You don’t learn just to do and replicate and be an automaton or a robot. Or What we call a technical, technician or technocrat.”

Dr. Brian Gearity Online


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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile