Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Successfully submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Technologicl University Dublin for the degree of MA in Higher Education December 2014.


Elite youth soccer players in Ireland reach a significant point in their development when recruited to the national elite Under 19 (U19) League. At this point players have a two year period in which they aim to become proficient enough to earn a professional contract with their club of choice. They encounter a steep learning curve during this period in their sporting education with increased competition and additional physical and mental demands. This case study examines the type of learning that takes place within an U19 elite team, the learning theory driving the coaching practice and its influences on player development. Looking at how methods for facilitating learning have evolved, it also looks at the learning environment and its role in shaping learning outcomes. Twenty elite youth players took part in the study. How and what players were learning was examined through interviews, observation of their performance and progress, and examination answers given via the survey. This data was used to build a picture of how players preferred to learn, where they felt they had learned and what they had learned. Analysing the feedback and assessing it against how what had been learned had been instructed, allowed opinion to form around how the players where learning and what was effective. A log of weekly updates was kept to monitor subjectivity and to assist in the data analysis process. Validity was attempted to be satisfied through triangulation, peer review, monitoring of bias, rich description and external audit.