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Barbi Law and Craig Hall

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of skill level and age on golfers’ (n = 188) use of observational learning for skill, strategy, and performance functions, as assessed by the Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire. Golf handicap was used as an objective measure of golf skill level, with a lower handicap reflecting a higher skill level. It was hypothesized that both age and skill level would predict observational learning use, with younger and less experienced golfers reporting increased use of all three functions of observational learning. It was also predicted that age and skill level would interact to predict use of the performance function, with younger golfers employing more of that function than older golfers at the same skill level. Partial support was obtained for these hypotheses. Regression analyses revealed that the interaction of age and skill level predicted use of the skill function. Younger golfers employed more of the skill function than older golfers; however this discrepancy increased as skill level decreased. Age, and not skill level, was a significant predictor of golfers’ use of both the strategy and performance functions, with younger golfers employing more of these functions than older golfers. These results suggest that age-related factors may have a greater impact than skill-related factors on observational learning use across the lifespan.

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Rachel A. Van Woezik, Colin D. McLaren, Jean Côté, Karl Erickson, Barbi Law, Denyse Lafrance Horning, Bettina Callary, and Mark W. Bruner

In an ever-evolving society, sport coaches are presented with a number of avenues through which they can acquire and refine their coaching knowledge. The purpose of this research was to replicate and extend past research to gain an up-to-date understanding of how coaches are presently gaining knowledge. This was done through a constructive replication using a sequential explanatory mixed-method design. Study 1 included 798 coaches who completed an online questionnaire detailing their use of 16 sources of coaching knowledge. Coaches’ top three most used sources were interacting with coaches, learning by doing, and observing others. In contrast, the top three most preferred sources were observing others, interacting with coaches, and having a mentor. To contextualize these findings, Study 2 used a qualitative design in which 14 coaches were interviewed to understand their experiences with different knowledge sources. Five distinct narrative types were identified: recent elite athletes, parent coaches, coach developers, teacher coaches, and experienced coaches. Coaches reported engaging in more social and unstructured learning experiences, and the reasons for their preferences appeared to differ based on lifestyle and perceived barriers. Collectively, these findings highlight how coaches gain knowledge and why they prefer certain sources over others.