Adult Learning Principles in Master's Sport: A Coach's Perspective


  • Justin MacLellan University of Ottawa
  • Bettina Callary
  • Bradley W. Young


Adult athletes, or Masters athletes (MAs), feel that sport coaches should use different approaches when working with them than with youth (Callary et al., 2015; 2017). This case study aimed to understand how each of six adult learning principles from Knowles et al.’s (2012) Andragogy in Practice Model were evidenced in a 30-year-old, female, canoe/kayak coach’s descriptions of her approaches. Data were collected via three semi-structured coach interviews (90-120 minutes), with supplemental field notes for her training sessions with MAs and youth, with the latter cohort used for comparative purposes. Results showed the coach’s approaches with MAs were largely andragogical, especially in her responsiveness to adults’ inquisitiveness and provision of self-directed opportunities. She more closely followed traditional pedagogy with youth, directing information delivery, limiting autonomy, and catering to more extrinsic motives. Findings suggest the model may be flexibly applied to coaching adult sport, and its principles adapted to fit individual needs.

Author Biography

Justin MacLellan, University of Ottawa

School of Human Kinetics

Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Ottawa




How to Cite

MacLellan, J., Callary, B., & Young, B. W. (2019). Adult Learning Principles in Master’s Sport: A Coach’s Perspective. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 31(01). Retrieved from