Learning to Coach through Experience: Reflection in Model Youth Sport Coaches

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

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Wade D. GilbertCalifornia State University, Fresno

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Pierre TrudelUniversity of Ottawa

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The present study examined how model youth sport coaches learn to coach through experience. Yin’s multiple-case study approach was used with six youth team sport coaches. Data were collected over an entire sport season through a series of semi-structured interviews, observations, and documents. All six case study coaches developed and refined coaching strategies through a process of reflection. Six components characterized reflection: coaching issues, role frame, issue setting, strategy generation, experimentation, and evaluation. A reflective conversation comprising the latter four components, triggered by coaching issues and bound by the coach’s role frame, was central to reflection. The selection of options at each stage in a reflective conversation was influenced by access to peers, a coach’s stage of learning, issue characteristics, and the environment. Furthermore, three types of reflection were evident: reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action, and retrospective reflection-on-action.

Wade Gilbert is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University Fresno, 5275 North Campus Drive M/S SG 28, Fresno, CA 93740-8018, Pierre Trudel is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1N 6N5.

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