An Examination of the Impact of Reflective Practice on Field Hockey Umpires
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Reflective practice is a concept which affords a host of benefits to those who engage with it, including: improved confidence, self-awareness, and the development of professional knowledge (Cropley, Miles, Hanton, and Niven, 2007). However, practitioners have previously encountered problems with the time commitment required, together with how best to engage with the process (Cropley, Miles, and Peel, 2012). Consequently, this study aimed to explore the potential impact of reflective practice on field hockey umpires, and move toward recommendations as to whether to include reflection as part of their training and development programmes. Two participants were recruited using purposive sampling, each reflected on six consecutive umpiring performances, and were practically assessed before and after engaging with the process. On the second assessment, each participant showed visual signs of improvement in their umpiring after engaging with reflective practice. Following this each participant was interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide, and the resulting data was subject to inductive and deductive content analysis. Whilst both participants could clearly see the merit in engaging with reflective practice, only one reaped the benefits in the ways expected following the literature review. Time constraints and a close-minded approach to reflective practice were cited as the main reasons for the indifferent experience reported by the second participant. Furthermore, both participants expressed a desire for an increased level of support whilst engaging in a study of this type. Following this study, it is feasible to suggest that reflective practice should be implemented into an umpire’s training; however it is important to consider the lifestyles of participants, together with the support needs before commencing a study of this type.
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