Supporting Coach Learning in Paralympic Sport: Rich Environments for Innovation

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Georgia A. Askew Faculty of Health, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Paralympic Innovation, Paralympics Australia, Australia

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Ross A. Pinder Paralympic Innovation, Paralympics Australia, Australia

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Ian Renshaw Faculty of Health, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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Adam D. Gorman Faculty of Health, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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In this insight article, we aim to challenge current thinking regarding coaching and spark new ideas by demonstrating how high-performance Paralympic sport contexts provide rich environments for innovation. We propose an innovative approach to enhance coach learning and introduce coaches and practitioners to three interconnected areas of opportunity emerging in research: (a) reframing the role and harnessing the work of skill acquisition specialists, (b) the use of a design thinking approach, and (c) the implementation of technology-enhanced learning. Specifically, we demonstrate how using these three strategies can better facilitate cocreated coach learning in situ. Whilst we acknowledge that each of these areas is not necessarily new, we propose that when addressed and applied collectively by practitioners they can provide effective and efficient coach learning opportunities, where the result of the integration of ideas means the impact can be greater than simply the sum of the parts. We highlight how this approach has emerged out of challenging high-performance Paralympic sport contexts, and could have impact on research, practice, and coach development experiences across a wider range of contexts along the performance pathway in both Paralympic and nondisabled sports.

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