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Previous research has emphasised the dynamic nature of coaching practice and the need to consider both individual performer needs and necessary contextual trade-offs in providing optimum solutions. In this regard, a Professional Judgment and Decision Making framework has been suggested to facilitate an optimum blend of actions against these complex and dynamic demands. Accordingly, we extend this work and address recent calls for greater focus on expertise-oriented assessments, by postulating on the aspirant/developing coach’s capacity for and development of metacognition (i.e., active control over cognitive processes) as a ‘tool’ within the reflective process. Specifically, we propose that metacognition enables essential active cognitive processing for deep learning and impactful application, together with construction and refinement of useable knowledge to inform coaching decisions. Metacognition, therefore, helps to contextualise knowledge provided in training, further optimising the experience, particularly before certification. Finally, we exemplify how metacognition can be developed in coaches through the use of cognitive apprenticeships and decision training tools; and evaluated via a series of observed coaching episodes, with reasoning articulated through pre and postsession interview. Despite challenging traditional competency-based approaches to coach education, we believe that a considered mixed approach represents a vital next step in further professionalising sports coaching.
Loel Collins is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire. He holds a professional doctorate in elite performance and is a highly accomplished adventure sports coach. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Howie Carson is a researcher at the Institute for Coaching and Performance, University of Central Lancashire. He holds a PhD in motor control and coaching and accreditation as an Advanced PGA Professional golf coach, BASES Sport and Exercise Scientist and Chartered Scientist.
Dave Collins is director of the Institute of Coaching and Performance and Grey Matters Performance Ltd. As an applied psychologist and qualified coach he has worked with over 70 world and Olympic medallists, plus professional and national sports teams.