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Developing soccer coaches in South Africa through mentoring
This investigation was undertaken to establish soccer coaches' views and experiences with regard to mentoring as a way of developing their skills and knowledge. The authors conducted a qualitative phenomenological study with seven purposively selected participants (coded as M1 – M7) who were involved in soccer coaching for either community teams or educational institutions. Data were collected through open ended interviews that were transcribed and then analyzed using open-axial and selective coding procedures. The results showed that all the respondents viewed mentoring as a vital learning experience (the learning experience category) that advanced their professional knowledge (advancement category). The respondents, however, indicated that for mentoring to be successfully used as a tool for professional development, there is a need for an amicable interpersonal relationship between the mentee and the mentor (interpersonal category). There is also a need for the mentor to be accessible and approachable to the mentee (pre-requisites category). It was concluded that the mentoring experience could be used to fast-track the professional development of coaches. Contrary to the results of earlier studies, this study revealed that if mentoring had to bring about the expected results, it had to be informal. It was also concluded that mentoring could provide coaches with a context to test and refine their knowledge and skills, reflect on mistakes and understand the demands and constraints associated with their job.