Cultivating a Community of Practice to Enable Coach Development in Alpine Ski Coaches

in International Sport Coaching Journal

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Paul GarnerUniversity of Gloucestershire—Oxstalls Campus

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Denise M. HillUniversity of Gloucestershire—Oxstalls Campus

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Given the enduring focus of coach education on the development of professional knowledge (e.g., technique, strategy, and tactics), the current study aimed to explore how a Community of Practice (CoP) impacted coach development of interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge. Côté and Gilbert’s (2009) definition of coaching expertise was used as a model to observe learning in a community of practice (CoP; Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002). A total of eight internationally qualified ski coaches (aged 27–44 years) took part in weekly meetings over a period of six weeks, with the lead researcher cultivating a CoP and ensuring coaching issues were the focus of discussion. Meetings were audio-recorded and the data transcribed and analysed thematically. Results revealed that coaches developed both interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge through enhanced emotional intelligence, gaining an athlete-centred approach, storytelling, group reflection and changing role frames. The findings are positioned within the extant literature, with implication for coach education practice identified.

Paul Garner is a senior lecturer in sports coaching at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He is also an internationally qualified ski instructor/coach (BASI 4) and delivers coach education within alpine skiing at the highest level.

Denise Hill is a senior lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Portsmouth, UK. She is a Chartered Psychologist and a BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist, and offers psychological support to a number of elite athletes across sports. Her research and applied specialisms lie within the causes and moderators of choking under pressure across domains.

Address author correspondence to Paul Garner at
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