Drawing on de Coubertin’s Olympism philosophy in the Secondary School Rugby Experience


  • Blake Bennett New Zealand Centre for Olympic Studies (New Zealand)


Character building, moral education, secondary school, rugby


The literature indicates that the values of, and justification for, rugby participation in Japan and New Zealand share many similarities including the development of young males’ character (Abe, 2008; Phillips, 1996). Importantly to the pursuit of Olympism studies, such development resonates with de Coubertin’s intentions for sport participation in young males (Müller, 2000). The current article presents hermeneutic interpretations of texts (conversations) held with Japanese and New Zealand secondary school rugby coaches. Findings reveal the ways Japanese coaches sought to enhance various qualities in their players as they spoke explicitly about developing traits beyond the physical domain. The idea of ningen keisei (人間形æˆ; character development or human cultivation) emerged as the premise of their aims. Conversely, New Zealand coaches indicated that they put emphasis on technical skills, and despite equal opportunity, did not articulate any intention to develop their athletes beyond the physical domain. Although a complete paucity of underlying philosophies regarding character development in New Zealand secondary school rugby coaching practices is not being suggested here, the findings could signal an important consideration for future directions of school-based rugby participation.

Author Biography

Blake Bennett, New Zealand Centre for Olympic Studies (New Zealand)

Blake C. Bennett (PhD., University of Canterbury), Evaluation and Monitoring Advisor, Sport Canterbury. Dr. Bennett completed his Doctoral degree in the field of sport coaching with a focus on the pedagogies of rugby coaches in New Zealand and Japanese secondary schools. He completed his Masters Degree in Sport Sciences at the Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, Japan, regarding aggression and violence in the Japanese martial art of Kendo. Dr. Bennett has coached for over 20 years, leads the Education Task Force of the New Zealand Kendo Federation, and is currently coach of the Mens’ New Zealand Kendo Team.






Emerging Scholars