The leading conference for the sociology of sport in the world, the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport conference convened in November, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Because of the increasingly growing professionalization of sports coaching, one of the growing areas within this conference over the last few years has been sports coach development.

This year’s conference saw four sessions dedicated to sports coaching development combining research at the intersections of psychology and sociology. One of these sessions was a panel discussion of invited world-leading coach educators titled “Teaching social theory to sports coaches: A way forward for coaching.”

Adjunct Professor, Dr. Joseph Mills, was one of the four invited panelists alongside Dr. Chris Cushion from the University of Loughborough (the U.K.’s premier sports research university), Dr. Jim Denison from the University of Alberta and Dr. Brian Gearity from the University of Denver.

It is a testimony to the work at St. Mary’s that he was invited to such a prestigious convening of world-leading academics. And as further testimony, Dr. Pirkko Markula, the former editor of the Sociology of Sports Journal and one of the leading scholars at NASSS, noted that the session in which Dr. Mills presented his paper on coaches’ construction of knowledge and practice, had been the strongest session in the conference because of the emphasis on using psycho-social theory to ‘change’ not just ‘critique’ practice.