Valerie Owen-Pugh


This paper explores the psychological contracts of male players and coaches in British commercial basketball, and the ways in which these might be shaped by the constraining and enabling pressures of athletic talent migration. It draws on qualitative interview data to argue that commercialising changes in the game’s recent history have led to the emergence of divergent forms of psychological contract between coaches and players. These have promoted the interests of the game’s migrant Americans at the expense of its indigenous athletes. In particular, while the Americans reap the benefits of a high social reputation, material rewards and career development, many indigenous athletes working in the top-flight clubs struggle to gain remuneration and court-time and must fall back on their own resources to build self-confidence and self-respect. It is argued that this marginalising process was intensified following the Bosman ruling of 1995, which led to the exodus of many skilled indigenous players from the UK and prompted the commercial league to make more extensive use of Americans. Interpretation of the study’s findings is informed by Elias’ theory of established-outsider relations.


Article Keywords

Sport, Migration, Basketball, Coaching, Psychological Contract, Bosman, Elias

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