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

Wade D. Gilbert and Pierre Trudel

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.

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Interactive Decision Making Factors Considered by Coaches of Youth Ice Hockey during Games

Wade D. Gilbert, Pierre Trudel, and Leon P. Haughian

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.