An Investigation into the Reflective Practice of Coaches at Different Levels of Qualification in Both Team and Individual Sports
University of Wales
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The purpose of the study was twofold; to investigate the differences in reflective practice between the different levels of qualification in the coaching setup; and secondly to determine if there is a difference between the reflective practice of a team and individual sports coach. The participant coaches were active in the UK. Participants were equally split so there were two coaches at each qualification level up to level 4, and at each level a team and individual sport were represented. Semi-structured interviews were conducted based on previous research. The study argues two main points. Firstly, knowledge of reflective practice is gained from further education rather than coaching qualifications. Secondly, that the difference between team and individual sports environments require more specific tools and methods of reflection in order for a coach to cope with the different demands of the sport. The study identified that past experience, additional qualifications and mentors were significant to coaching knowledge. This investigation also added further evidence to the debate that low level coaching qualifications are providing limited knowledge for coaches on reflective practice. The reflective process contained three main periods for both team and individual sport coaches and occurred during the session, immediately after the session and later in the evening. Team sport coaches is(sic) this study suggested that they were more reactive during a session and were constantly adapting to the environment. Individual coaches were less reactive and also preferred a written reflective method opposed to a cognitive strategy. The amount of time allocated and the frequency of these periods of reflection fluctuated between team and individual sport coaches. Reflective discussions with other coaches and athletes were a vital part of reflection for coaches in both a team and individual sport. The use of video was viewed by all the coaches as a useful tool but it was identified that it must be completed in a non-threatening manner.
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