This study provided a descriptive analysis of the interactive decision making factors considered by coaches of youth ice hockey (aged 10–15 years) during games. Using a multiple–case study design, data were collected using a combination of semistructured interviews and an adapted version of stimulated recall interviews. An inductive analysis of the interview transcripts revealed 5 types of interactive decisions, 5 types of goals, and 21 types of factors. The factors were regrouped into two categories (Field Information and Coach Knowledge) and four subcategories (Objective Information, Subjective Information, Player Characteristics, and Knowledge of the Game). Although individual coach differences were found, important cross-coach similarities also emerged. On average, between 2.6 and 3.2 factors were cited for each interactive decision. The adoption of dichotic (yes-no) decision making models based exclusively on player performance, and the ecological validity of conducting lab-based studies to examine the interactive decision making of coaches, is challenged.
The authors are with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada.