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Kicking “No-Touch” Discourses into Touch: Athletes’ Parents’ Constructions of Appropriate Coach–Child Athlete Physical Contact.

It has been suggested that sport is increasingly becoming a “no-touch zone” as some coaches, driven by a desire for self-protection, restrict their use of physical contact with (child) athletes in the belief that this reduces their risk of being accused of abuse. Research on coach–athlete physical contact is limited, however, and no studies have yet explored how athletes’ parents understand such behaviors. This article reports on a study that investigates athletes’ parents’ perspectives of appropriate coach–child athlete physical contact within youth swimming. Parents constructed physical contact as necessary and legitimate in three specific contexts and drew on children’s rights principles to rationalize this. This article discusses the significance of this and explores the benefits of adopting child-centered coaching practices.