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James Stephenson, Colum Cronin, and Amy E. Whitehead

Think Aloud (TA) involves an individual verbalising his or her thoughts throughout the duration of a task. A case study approach examined the experiences of one football coach (Dave) as he engaged in four coaching sessions using TA. Dave completed four reflective diaries, supported by an overall narrative account, TA transcriptions, and two interviews. The aim of the case study was to gain a deeper understanding of Dave’s experiences of using TA in his context. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was utilised and revealed a superordinate theme of “suspended above himself” and actively engaging in the coaching session, which reflects the essence of TA for Dave. This metaphor captures the view that the TA process enabled Dave to move between analysing his own performance as if suspended above himself, and engaging in the action of the coaching session. Five subordinate themes were also generated: improved self-awareness, pedagogy, communication skills, feelings of apprehension, and distraction. These findings provide a rich description of the experience of TA and a novel glimpse into the potential pitfalls associated with TA that will inform coach educators. A further significant contribution is provided by highlighting relevant theoretical considerations that will inform future studies.

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Amy Whitehead, Kanayo Umeh, Barbara Walsh, Eleanor Whittaker, and Colum Cronin

Background: Back to Netball (B2N) is a United Kingdom female national sports program that has been found to engage a large number of females in the sport netball. This study sought to understand the participant motives for engaging in this program. Methods: Qualitative methods were used following an initial quantitative survey, which was part of a wider project (outside of this manuscript). Survey participants were comprised of 374 females aged 16–68 years. Participants completed an online survey to capture demographic data. Interviews were conducted with 28 participants either still engaged or no longer engaged in B2N. Analysis involved both inductive and deductive thematic analysis to explore participant perceptions of their coach. Results: Initial motives for engagement were focused on physical health motives and social motives. The coach was also found to be important in providing opportunities for competence development. Therefore, competence development was found to be an important factor for engagement. Participant motivations moved from an extrinsic concern with losing weight to a more intrinsic foci including socializing opportunities and feelings of competence. Conclusions: As a team sport B2N stimulates social engagement, competence, and other motives. Coaching is also a key facilitator for engagement in B2N. This research has implications for future practitioners and policy makers aiming to engage women in sport and physical activity.

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Amy Elizabeth Whitehead, Brendan Cropley, Tabo Huntley, Andy Miles, Laura Quayle, and Zoe Knowles

This study aimed to design, implement and evaluate a protocol encompassing Think Aloud (TA) as a technique to facilitate reflection-in-action and delayed reflection-on-action to aid coach learning. Six British, male rugby league coaches, who reported little previous exposure to reflective practice, consented to participate. Participants were: (a) instructed on how to engage in TA; (b) observed in practice using TA; (c) provided with individual support on delayed reflective practice on their first coaching session and use of TA; (d) observed in practice using TA a second time; and (e) engaged in a social validation interview regarding their experiences of TA. Analysis of in-action verbalizations revealed a shift from descriptive verbalizations to a deeper level of reflection. Both immediate and post eight week social validation interviews revealed that coaches developed an increased awareness, enhanced communication, and pedagogical development. The participants also recommended that TA can be a valuable tool for: (a) collecting in-event data during a coaching session; and (b) developing and evidencing reflection for coaches. Future recommendations were also provided by the participants and consequently, this study offers a unique technique to reflective practice that has the potential to meet the learning development needs of coaches.