Observation of performance forms a critical part of the complex coaching process. A professional judgment and decision making (PJDM) framework enables optimum decisions to be made under time pressure and with limited information that derive from that observation. Observation and the associated decision making can be particularly affected by heuristic bias. We extend the work on PJDM via a greater focus on its relationship with observation within the coaching process. After revisiting PJDM and observation, we introduce and explore heuristics as a “tool” within the observation process. Specifically, we propose that observation is prone to heuristics built on a coach’s experience and understanding. We report on a small scale preliminary investigation with a group of high-level paddle sport coaches. We identify heuristics that both restrict and enhance the effectiveness of the observation in an effort to promote discussion and further research.
Scott Simon is British Canoeing Lead Coach of the Olympic Development Programme and a member of the Institute of Coaching and Performance, (ICaP) at the University of Central Lancashire. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Elite Coaching Practice, the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate Level 4 in Paddle-sport and is a United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association, Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach.
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.
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.