Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department or Program

Workforce Education and Development


Zhong, Lin


In 1970, Malcolm Knowles defined andragogy as “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Knowles, 1970 p. 38) and his theory has been used in higher education institutions and many organizations since then. The andragogy philosophy is examined in this qualitative study to determine the value of utilizing andragogy in coaching adult CrossFit athletes. While there are many facets to andragogy, this study specifically uses Malcolm Knowles’ assumptions and principles of adult learners and Bob Pike Group’s 5 Laws of Adult Learning in Creative Training Techniques (1989). The coaches who participated in this study are current CrossFit coaches in the greater Charleston area. Of the nine coaches asked to participate, five volunteered to participate. Observations, semi-structured interviews, and participant field notes were used to collect data identifying the perceived value of adult learning principles and laws. The results reveal four out of five coaches utilize the following andragogical principles and laws together: 1) motivation to learn and having fun, 2) orientation to learning and readiness to learn, and 3) athletes’ self-concept, experience, and assisting them to carry out the learning activities. Findings suggest coaches who utilize the andragogical principles and laws are more effective coaches and have a greater connection to their athletes than those who don’t use the andragogical principles. These findings provide evidence of the importance of knowing, understanding, and applying andragogical principles and laws when coaching adult athletes.