The British Athlete “is born not made”: Transatlantic Tensions over Sports Coaching
During the latter stages of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, the trajectory of organized sports followed significantly different paths in North America and Great Britain. Nowhere was this more evident than in the field of professional coaching where the American model of full-time coaches in universities and athletics clubs contrasted with the ever-increasing preference for amateur coaches in many British sports. While the American model was adopted enthusiastically in many European countries, there was considerable resistance to this approach in Britain. This paper utilizes contemporary media commentary to contrast the characteristics of coaching practice and philosophy that typified American and British approaches during the Victorian period and explores some of the arguments offered in Britain against the adoption of specialized American coaching methods.