Performance management and analysis in tier two international Rugby Union
Wiltshire, Huw David
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This thesis was concerned with a performance management and analysis case study intervention with an International Rugby Board (IRB) tier two international squad, focusing on change. An initial interview study investigated the concept of Performance Management (PM) in elite rugby union from the perspective of eight leading high performance managers. The findings highlighted the importance of people management, possessing a strategic vision, achieving simplicity and clarity from complex issues, and creating and managing change in order to save time for athletes and coaches. The second interview study explored the nature of Performance Analysis (PA) in elite rugby union. The findings identified that PA involved interpreting and filtering large unwieldy data sets, the coach-analyst relationship was critical to success, and player-centred analysis needed to promote learning through behavioural change. Collectively, the findings highlight that PM and PA have a number of conceptual similarities that include a reductive approach to identify impact metrics (measures with direct relevance to performance) that provide a basis for context-specific feedback. Both PM and PA provide a structure and agency to a performance learning environment by connecting the multidisciplinary components, and improving the performance empathy of managers, coaches and athletes often in an intuitive and instinctive manner. The critical similarity and function, however, relates to outputs in both areas that save time for those most directly involved with performance decision making. In order to support the case study intervention, an integrated model of PM and PA was designed to help investigate how change could be implemented within a tier two international rugby union environment. The findings demonstrated the importance of a performance review in creating a context-specific strategic plan, and the need for performance standards that move from exceeding organisational best (peak performance) to a level that is consistently higher than that of the majority of peer organisations in the same sector, and over a prolonged time period (high performance). PM creates a currency of feed forward, generates outputs that can always be traced back to the underpinning strategy and performance philosophy, and allows for a cut-edit-paste strategy as opposed to the blind imitation of cut and paste. Integrated (qualitative and quantitative) performance analysis provides impact and iii saves time for both the performance manager and the concomitant learning environment by translating key trends from a reductive analysis of large data into key performance outcomes. The overall findings of the thesis have facilitated a greater understanding of the development of performance management and performance analysis as a prerequisite for performance success in elite rugby union that can be used to initiate change. In addition, the findings have been utilised to re-design a national governing body elite coach award course, and to develop a level six module for final year undergraduate students.
PhD Thesis - School of Sport
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