The Role of the Coach in Player Retention and Attrition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


It is internationally recognised that regular participation in physical activities like sports affords benefits to individuals, communities, and countries. Strong foundations in movement abilities developed in sport settings are associated with the choice to be physically active during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The social dynamics of place, context, and coaches influence whether individual potential and interest is realised, and the attraction of continued participation is maintained. The coach plays a pivotal role in the sport enjoyment experience of the participant. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to review the role of the coach in player retention and attrition in children's sport. Findings suggest that there are two critical age ranges where attrition occurs with both corresponding to changes in competition and training intensity and the potential this brings for changes to players’ relationships with coaches. Findings also suggest that the coach is the most important factor in player retention and attrition in youth sport. More research is needed into coaching strategies and behaviours encouraging inclusivity and player enjoyment at the two critical stages of player retention and attrition. There is a recognised need for improved coach selection policies and coach education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Coaching Children in Sport
EditorsMartin Toms, Ruth Jeanes
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781003199359
ISBN (Print)9781032058191, 9781032058207
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Sports Coaching
NameRoutledge International Handbooks


  • coaching methods
  • player attrition
  • player retention
  • Social dynamics
  • coach selection policies
  • youth sport


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