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

Paul Garner and Denise M. Hill

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.