Light, Rob (2010) A ‘strange...absurd...and somewhat injurious influence’? Cricket, professional Coaching in the Public Schools and the “Gentleman Amateur” Ethos. Sport in History, 30 (1). pp. 8-31. ISSN 1746-0263

This paper offers an insight into the changing social and economic relations in cricket between 1860 and 1914, by examining the role of professionals who were employed to coach the game in public schools. It highlights how professionals were widely respected before this period and pioneered the development of playing technique and its dissemination through coaching in a manner that ensured the game was played in a way which benefited their interests. The decline in their status which followed the rise of the ‘Gentleman Amateur’ to a position of control in cricket during the 1860s is then discussed and related to the growth of an influential body of rhetoric that underscored the new structure. Finally, the re-evaluation of coaching’s contribution to cricket in private education which formed part of this discourse is set against the continued employment of professionals in such institutions and their influence upon amateur players of the game’s ‘Golden Age’.

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