Research has shown that coaches learn through reflective practice (Trudel & Gilbert, 2006), that communities of practice can assist the reflective process (Culver & Trudel, 2008), and that problem-based learning can increase critical thought by coaches (Jones & Turner, 2006). To help coaches develop reflective practice skills in an online course, the authors designed and implemented a novel assignment combining the principles of a community of practice with problem-based learning. Small groups of students were presented with a problem scenario and then met synchronously online using a low bandwidth group chat application (EtherPad) to diagnose the problem, strategize, and outline a solution. Students were able to conduct group meetings with only minor technical diffculties, and their written work demonstrated that a moderate level of refection had occurred. Future assignment redesigns should allow more opportunities for student-instructor interaction to facilitate greater development of student reflective practice skills.
Andrew P. Driska and Daniel R. Gould
E. Missy Wright, Katie R. Griffes, and Daniel R. Gould
Even though African American girls and/or girls in low-income, urban environments are specifically challenged with their sport involvement, little research has focused specifically on this population’s experience with sport. The purpose of this study was to examine various factors related to sport participation for adolescent girls (predominantly African American) living in a low-income urban environment. The study examined the barriers that might impede their sport involvement, the benefits they perceive, and the reasons why they do or do not participate. Four focus groups were conducted in Detroit, Michigan (a large urban Midwestern city). Participants were grouped by age, as well as sport participation status (current sort participants and girls who have not participated in organized sport for at least one year). Each group consisted of 4 girls. Results revealed various reasons why the participants engaged in sport, including that sport occupies their time and that it is fun, while reasons like lack of opportunities and the negative role of others were some of the reasons provided for not participating in sport. These girls face numerous barriers to sport participation, such as logistical, financial, and cosmetic. Positive psychosocial development and scholarships were noted as benefits to participation. Directions for future research and programmatic level applications are described in light of these findings.
M. Ryan Flett, Daniel Gould, Katherine R. Griffes, and Larry Lauer
The following study explored coaching behaviors and youth coaches’ justifications for their actions by comparing more effective and less effective coaches from an underserved setting. Reasons for their coaching behaviors were also explored. In-depth interviews and ethnographic observations were conducted with 12 coaches from 6 different youth sports. Support for each theme from the analysis was compared between the 6 more effective and 6 less effective coaches. Less effective coaches tried to create a sense of family within the team, but used very negative, militaristic coaching strategies that were not developmentally appropriate. Less effective coaches justified the negative approach because of the perceived dangers in the inner city and attempted to toughen their players through harsher methods. More effective coaches challenged players while being supportive, attempted to develop close relationships along with a positive team climate, and promoted autonomy and the transfer of life skills from sport to life. More effective coaches appeared to be more open to coach training and others’ ideas—they could be described as lifelong learners. The results from this study not only reveal how more and less effective coaches differ, but provide possible insight as to why they differ. The study provides unique insights for researchers and coaching educators interested in particularly underserved settings and in developing less effective coaches.