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Where Is The Line? Film Raises Important Questions About Sports Coaching Industry

Ricardo Barker’s film questions the role and impact of coaches in the sports industry and explores the important line between firm coaching and bullying.

Leeds Trinity University held a special screening for Ricardo Barker’s ‘Where is the Line?’ as a part of their annual Journalism and Media Week. The film raises thought-provoking questions about understanding the line between what firm coaching is and bullying within coaching to challenge the sports coaching industry by emphasising the need for change.

Ricardo Barker described the concept of ‘Where is the Line’ as a complex issue. He said: “We’ve got two very strong opposing points of view of what is good coaching. The old school method which has created extremely successful athletes but then has created huge damage or having more of a holistic approach, something that’s a bit more nurturing and caring and really takes in the needs of the athletes that are involved.”

Vincent Revie played by Richard Lloyd is an old school sports coach who uses threatening and aggressive behaviour when coaching children. During the film he often embarrasses and ridicules students who ask for help or are behind in training. This included “I know old women with better stamina than you.”

Leeds Trinity University graduate Rachel was one of five students who helped produce the film. She said: “Vincent is playing by the rules of the book, but he doesn’t understand that that book doesn’t include everyone, and he doesn’t care to realise what he’s doing is wrong.”

Sabrina played by Bethannie Hare is a modern-day coach who uses more nurturing methods to coaching and encourages children to have a voice, communicate better and makes sure to listen and understand issues the children face outside of their sports sessions.

Ricardo Barker cleverly uses these characters to highlight the parallels between modern day and old school teaching and to symbolise how times passed and how the practise of sports coaching has changed. The film poses the question of whether coaches like Vincent are malicious in their practice or is it just naivety to the new way of thinking and teaching?

The film was commissioned by UK Coaching who collaborated with the five LTU students to produce the film which was written by Associate Professor Ricardo Barker. This gave the students involved in the project industry led experience which has proved vital in their progression into the working world after university.

Ricardo Barker said the film came about after a meeting with UK Coaching, he said: “UK Coaching wanted to create a film that would explore bullying and just bad practice amongst sports coaches.”

It’s important that the Sabrina’s of the world speak up against the bias in sports coaching and challenge the norms. Ricardo and his team hope this film will serve as a catalyst to the change that needs to be made in the sports coaching industry.

You can watch Ricardo’s film here:

What do you think?