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Jason Berry, Bruce Abernethy and Jean Côté

The developmental histories of 32 players in the Australian Football League (AFL), independently classified as either expert or less skilled in their perceptual and decision-making skills, were collected through a structured interview process and their year-on-year involvement in structured and deliberate play activities retrospectively determined. Despite being drawn from the same elite level of competition, the expert decision-makers differed from the less skilled in having accrued, during their developing years, more hours of experience in structured activities of all types, in structured activities in invasion-type sports, in invasion-type deliberate play, and in invasion activities from sports other than Australian football. Accumulated hours invested in invasion-type activities differentiated between the groups, suggesting that it is the amount of invasion-type activity that is experienced and not necessarily intent (skill development or fun) or specificity that facilitates the development of perceptual and decision-making expertise in this team sport.

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Michelle McCalpin, Blair Evans and Jean Côté

Competitive engineering is a process whereby sport organizations modify the rules, facilities, and equipment involved in sport to facilitate desirable athlete outcomes and experiences. Competitive engineering is being increasingly adopted by youth sport organizations with empirical evidence positively supporting its influence on skill development and performance. The purpose of this study was to explore young female athletes’ experiences in their modified soccer environment. Seventeen recreational and competitive soccer players, aged 8–11, participated in semistructured photo elicitation interviews that featured several visual qualitative methods (i.e., athlete-directed photography, drawing exercises, and pile-sorting) to facilitate insight on their sport environments. Results revealed that the athletes’ competitively engineered soccer experience was perceived as being a distinct environment that emphasized personal development, positive relationships, and the underlying enjoyment of sport. These findings shed light of how youth sport structure modifications influence the athletes’ experiences, providing practical implications to further promote positive youth sport experiences.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

The purpose of this study is to report the knowledge used in training and competition by 17 expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. A qualitative research methodology was used to collect and inductively analyze the data. The knowledge elicited for the competition component was categorized as competition site, competition floor, and trial competitions. These categories indicated that the coaches are minimally involved with the gymnasts in competition. The knowledge of the coaches elicited within the training component were categorized as coach involvement in training, intervention style, technical skills, mental skills, and simulation. Properties of these categories that were extensively discussed by the expert coaches, such as teaching progressions, being supportive, and helping athletes to deal with stress, are consistent with the literature on coaching and on sport psychology. Other aspects considered important in the sport psychology literature, such as developing concentration skills, were not discussed as thoroughly by the expert coaches.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. By using a qualitative research methodology based on the traditions of cognitive anthropology and grounded theory, the first two stages of the knowledge acquisition process for building an expert system (identification and conceptualization) were examined. Open-ended questions and various questioning methods were used to unveil, explore, and probe important information (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1979) about various coaching situations. All coaches’ interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the unstructured qualitative data were inductively analyzed following the procedures and techniques of grounded theory (Côté, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). This article provides the underlying methodological framework used for the entire project. Details about the coaches studied and the methodological framework used to collect and analyze the data are presented.

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Paul Garner, Jennifer Turnnidge, Will Roberts and Jean Côté

While recent work recognizes a need for coach education to place greater emphasis on interpersonal knowledge when developing coaching expertise, it is our position that coach educators (CEs) must follow a similar trajectory in embracing the interpersonal knowledge requisite of their role and move beyond a reliance on content and professional knowledge in order to shape their delivery. To better understand CEs’ behaviors, the authors observed four experienced CEs in Alpine skiing, using an adapted version of the Coach Leadership Assessment System during delivery of a coach education and assessment course. The authors also interviewed CEs to further elucidate the observational data. The findings suggest the benefit of transactional approaches to leadership during assessment when set against the backdrop of an environment driven by intentions consistent with transformational leadership. Furthermore, we call for a greater appreciation of context when imagining CEs’ behaviors that align with effective practice.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela, Abderrahim Baria and Storm J. Russell

In the last several years there has been an increase in the amount of qualitative research using in-depth interviews and comprehensive content analyses in sport psychology. However, no explicit method has been provided to deal with the large amount of unstructured data. This article provides common guidelines for organizing and interpreting unstructured data. Two main operations are suggested and discussed: first, coding meaningful text segments, or creating tags, and second, regrouping similar text segments, or creating categories. Furthermore, software programs for the microcomputer are presented as a way to facilitate the organization and interpretation of qualitative data.

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Blair Evans, Ashley Adler, Dany MacDonald and Jean Côté

Purpose:

Bullying is a specific pattern of repeated victimization explored with great frequency in school-based literature, but receiving little attention within sport. The current study explored the prevalence of bullying in sport, and examined whether bullying experiences were associated with perceptions about relationships with peers and coaches.

Method:

Adolescent sport team members (n = 359, 64% female) with an average age of 14.47 years (SD = 1.34) completed a pen-and-paper or online questionnaire assessing how frequently they perpetrated or were victimized by bullying during school and sport generally, as well as recent experiences with 16 bullying behaviors on their sport team. Participants also reported on relationships with their coach and teammates.

Results:

Bullying was less prevalent in sport compared with school, and occurred at a relatively low frequency overall. However, by identifying participants who reported experiencing one or more act of bullying on their team recently, results revealed that those victimized through bullying reported weaker connections with peers, whereas those perpetrating bullying only reported weaker coach relationships.

Conclusion:

With the underlying message that bullying may occur in adolescent sport through negative teammate interactions, sport researchers should build upon these findings to develop approaches to mitigate peer victimization in sport.

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Dany J. MacDonald, Jean Côté, Mark Eys and Janice Deakin

Sport has been identified as a context in which youth encounter positive and negative experiences. However, relatively little is known about the factors that lead to positive and negative personal development among sport participants. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of enjoyment and motivational climate on positive and negative personal development of team sport participants. A sample of 510 athletes between the ages of 9 and 19 completed questionnaires on positive and negative personal development, enjoyment, and motivational climate. Stepwise multiple regression analyses examined the effects of enjoyment and motivational climate on the personal development of the athletes. Results demonstrated that positive experiences in sport were most strongly predicted by affiliation with peers, self-referenced competency, effort expenditure, and a task climate. Negative experiences were most strongly predicted by an ego climate and other-referenced competency. Results suggest that creating an environment that encourages peer affiliation and personal achievement can result in the positive personal development of youth sport participants.

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Jean Côté, John Saimela, Pierre Trudel, Abderrahim Baria and Storm Russell

An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. The knowledge elicitation process consisted of open-ended questions and various questioning methods to unveil, explore, and prove important information (Patton, 1987; Spradley, 1979) about coaching. All coaches’ interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the unstructured qualitative data were inductively analyzed following the procedures and techniques of grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The inductive analysis process allowed the meaning units of the interview transcripts to be regrouped into properties, categories, and components. The components emerging from the analysis consisted of (a) competition, (b) training, (c) organization, (d) coach’s personal characteristics, (e) gymnast’s personal characteristics and level of development, and (f) contextual factors. These components were further developed into a model representing coaches’ knowledge.

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Sarah Lawrason, Jennifer Turnnidge, Luc J. Martin and Jean Côté

To maximize the effectiveness of coach development, educational programs should target coaches’ interpersonal behaviors, be informed by behavior-change techniques, and incorporate comprehensive evaluation procedures. Thus, informed by the full-range leadership model (see Bass and Riggio in 2006) and the Behaviour Change Wheel (see Michie et al. in 2011), Turnnidge and Côté in 2017 developed the Transformational Coaching Workshop (TCW). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the TCW’s effectiveness through observation before and after coaches’ workshop participation. Participants included 8 male head coaches of youth soccer teams. Systematic observation and coding using the Coach Leadership Assessment System were employed pre- and postworkshop to examine coaches’ leadership behaviors. Coaches made improvements in the types of leadership behaviors used and how they were conveyed. This study demonstrates that systematic observation can be implemented to explore real-world changes in behaviors. Future research should examine the impact of the TCW on athlete outcomes.