"O Último Minuto": reflecting on coach identity and role prominence in contemporary football


De Sa Fardilha F & Allen J (2021) "O Último Minuto": reflecting on coach identity and role prominence in contemporary football. Sports Coaching Review, 10 (1), pp. 20-37.

Literary fiction has been recognised as a vehicle of cultural transmission that can be used to reflect on real issues. If used as data sources, sports novels may be useful for making sense of the complexity and messiness of the coaching process. Drawing upon the reading of ‘O Último Minuto’, written by Brazilian author Marcelo Backes, this paper uses the trajectory, experiences, and emotions of its protagonist - João Iánic -, as a springboard to reflect on the challenges of coach identity and role prominence in contemporary sport and society. Although role prominence may enhance coaches’ commitment, energy and motivation to invest in their tasks, strong coaching identity may as well have its potential pitfalls. If other identities are dismissed, and the coaching identity is threatened (e.g. by the increasing commercialisation of sport, especially football) there is the risk of a negative path, which can result in experiences of burnout, unsustainable pressure, and ill-being. More research is needed to uncover the mechanisms that lead to or create the ‘turning points’ in the coaches’ paths. A better understanding of identity prominence may also assist with promoting its facilitative nature while mitigating its potentially debilitative consequences.

sports novels; identity theory; commercialisation; professional football; role prominence

Sports Coaching Review: Volume 10, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online30/04/2020
Date accepted by journal06/04/2020

Research centres/groups