Coaches’ and Officials’ Self-Reporting of Observational Learning

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Sport participants continually seek methods to hone their skills and achieve expert performance. One means to achieve this is through the use of observational learning (OL). The Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire (FOLQ) was created to measure the types of OL athletes used. The data presented herein builds from prior research in which the use of the FOLQ was extended to coaches and officials. The researchers included the following open-ended question: “Do you observe others/self for anything not addressed above?” Responses to this question, however, have yet to be reported. As such, the purpose of this study was to analyze participants’ responses to understand how coaches and officials use observational learning. Many identified codes encompassed ideas already included within the FOLQ; however, new coding categories emerged. Specifically, coaches reported using observational learning for Self-Reflection, officials reported using observational learning for Self-Presentation, and both groups reported using observational learning to improve Communication. These results demonstrate the importance of OL to coaches’ and officials’ development. Further, the results highlight that the FOLQ might overlook coaches’ and officials’ uses of OL. Regardless, the various uses of OL ought to be included in coaching and officiating education programs to foster elite performance.

St. Germain was with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and is now with the Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Rymal is with the Department of Kinesiology, California State University San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA. Hancock is with the Division of Allied Health Sciences, Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, IN.

St. Germain (stgerml@mcmaster.ca) is corresponding author.
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