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Juggling multiple identities In elite level rugby league : a neophyte performance analyst’s perspective

Fairbairn, Craig


Craig Fairbairn


Lee J. (Sport scientist) Nelson

Paul, 1974 Potrac


‘While performance analysts have been increasingly employed in many elite level sporting organisations, this development has arguably not been matched with a comparable level of critical scholarship addressing how performance analysts experience, understand and practice within a variety of organisational cultures’ (Huggan, Nelson & Potrac, 2015, p. 505). Specifically, the micro-political, emotional and identity experiences faced by neopphyte performance anlaysts as they transition into an elite rugby league coaching environment have not yet been considered. To partially address this situation, the current thesis provides a novel insight into my emotional, identity and micro-political experiences, as I endeavoured to transition into the coaching team for the first time. Data for this investigation was gathered in the form of a daily journal, based on my experiences at the Club, the University and in my home life. These journals were also discussed during monthy supervisory meetings, in order to further understand my experiences. Several interrelated themes emerged from the resulting narrative and were principally understood in relation to the work of Kelchtermans (e.g. Kelchtermans, 2009; Kelchtermans & Ballett, 2002a, 2002b), Goffman (1959, 1963, 1969), Hochschild (1979, 1983), Burke and Stets (2009) and Stryker (1980). I contend that the inherent structural vulnerability of my neophyte performance analyst position, as well as my determination to protect and advance my career meant that I had to learn to act micro-politically. I also assert that the multiple identities I possessed during this time acted cooperatively and conflictingly at different times, ultimately resulting in me not wanting to remain within my professional identity. It is hoped that through presenting the ambiguity, pathos and dynamic nature of practicing performance analysis in elite rugby league, a more grounded understanding of this topic area can be obtained.


Fairbairn, C. (2017). Juggling multiple identities In elite level rugby league : a neophyte performance analyst’s perspective. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sport science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2017


Thesis (3.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 Fairbairn, Craig. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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