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Brendan Cropley, Sheldon Hanton, Andy Miles and Ailsa Niven

This study offers an investigation into the concept of effective practice in applied sport psychology (ASP) with emphasis being placed upon the role that reflective practice may have in helping practitioners to develop the effectiveness of their service delivery. Focus groups (n = 2), consisting of accredited and trainee sport psychologists, were conducted to generate a working definition of effective practice, and discuss the concept of effectiveness development through engagement in reflective practices. The resulting definition encapsulated a multidimensional process involving reflection-on-practice. Initial support for the definition was gained through consensus validation involving accredited sport psychologists (n = 34) who agreed with the notion that although effectiveness is context specific it is related to activities designed to meet client needs. Reflective practice emerged as a vital component in the development of effectiveness, with participants highlighting that reflection is intrinsically linked to service delivery, and a key tool for experiential learning.

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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.