The purpose of this study was to understand the learning experiences and acquisition of knowledge of youth parasport coaches. Five able-bodied male participants (M = 39 years old), who coached youth with a physical disability for an average of 7.4 years, participated in individual interviews. An inductive thematic analysis identified patterns within and across the data, allowing for description and interpretation of the meaning and importance of the themes. The results showed that coaches learned mostly from informal experiences, particularly through mentoring, trial and error, or use of technology. In addition, these learning opportunities were influenced by personal, environmental, and social factors. These findings can help to guide current and future generations of coaches of youth participants with a physical disability by highlighting available resources and addressing several barriers and facilitators to their learning.
Pierre Lepage, Gordon A. Bloom, and William R. Falcão
Scott Douglas, William R. Falcão, and Gordon A. Bloom
The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the career development and learning pathways of Paralympic head coaches who previously competed as Paralympic athletes. Each coach participated in a semistructured interview. A thematic analysis of the data revealed three higher order themes, which were called becoming a coach, learning to coach, and lifelong learning and teaching. Across these themes, participants discussed interactions with other coaches and athletes with a disability, learning from mentors and coaching clinics, as well as limited formal educational opportunities they experienced transitioning from athlete to head coach. The findings revealed that they acquired most of their knowledge from a combination of knowledge gained as athletes and informal sources, including trial and error. They also stressed the need for enhanced recruiting of parasport coaches and parasport coach education opportunities that would enhance programs for athletes with physical disabilities, from grassroots to Paralympic levels.
William R. Falcão, Gordon A. Bloom, and Todd M. Loughead
The purpose of this study was to investigate Paralympic coaches’ perceptions of team cohesion. Seven head coaches of summer and winter Canadian Paralympic sport teams participated in the study. Four participants coached individual sports and 3 coached team sports. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The results addressed the coaches’ perceptions of cohesion in the Paralympic sport setting and strategies used to foster cohesion with their teams. Participants described using techniques and strategies for enhancing cohesion that were similar to those in nondisability sport, such as task-related activities, goal setting, and regularly communicating with their athletes. They also listed how cohesion was distinct to the Paralympic setting, such as the importance of interpersonal activities to build social cohesion. The implications of these results for coaching athletes with a disability are also presented.