The history of coach education in Western countries, much like higher education, has been shaped by societal influences and external drivers. The resulting trajectory includes a notable movement and shift in focus related to educational paradigms. Being learner-centered (LC) has become a central theme and mission by many coach education programs. The purpose of this case study was twofold: to explore the evolution of the historically rich coach education program of golf in Canada, and to assess the LC status of the most recently developed context of the program using Blumberg’s (2009) framework for developing and assessing learner-centered teaching (LCT). A series of program documents and interviews with seven coach development administrators involved in the program were analyzed. Findings revealed the turbulent epistemic evolution of the program and its pedagogical approaches, as well as the combination of internal and external drivers that triggered the shift from one extreme (instructor-centered teaching) to another (LCT) until finding a functional equilibrium. Moreover, the assessment of the program confirmed its claims of being LC. Discussions are presented on leading a LC change, facilitating learning, and using the framework to assess LC coach education.
The Evolution and Learner-Centered Status of a Coach Education Program
Kyle Paquette and Pierre Trudel
Learner-Centered Coach Education: Practical Recommendations for Coach Development Administrators
Kyle Paquette and Pierre Trudel
Despite a well-established understanding of the complexity inherent to both learning and sport coaching, programs designed to educate coaches have until recently been guided by pedagogical approaches aligned with rather simplistic views of learning. Thanks to the critical and innovative efforts of coaching scholars to uncover the shortcomings of traditional programs and their guiding epistemic traditions, coach education is becoming increasingly infused with constructivist, learner-centered (LC) strategies to help meet the complex needs of coaches. Although many LC informed recommendations have been offered, rarely do they provide coach development administrators (CDAs) with concrete, practical suggestions. Furthermore, the recommendations are scattered throughout the literature, which makes an already arduous task of bridging research and practice even more difficult for CDAs. Guided by the LC literature, a practical learner-centered teaching (LCT) framework, and previous recommendations presented in the coach education literature, this Best Practices paper presents a theoretically robust and empirically supported collection of practical recommendations for CDAs to support three critical areas of LC coach education: program design, facilitation, and coach engagement.
The Process of “Becoming” a Certified High-Performance Coach: A Tailored Learning Journey for One High-Performance Athlete
Pierre Trudel, Kyle Paquette, and Dan Lewis
Although high-performance (HP) coaches’ learning journeys are idiosyncratic and winding, most of these coaches share the characteristic of having rich experiences as athletes. Studies on the career transition of HP athletes to sports coaches reveal a sharp disagreement between these incoming coaches with their practice field experience and national governing bodies responsible for coach education programs about what is needed to be certified. This article presents a tailored initiative to support an HP athlete (Dan) in his process of “becoming” a certified HP coach in the Canadian context. This unique project took shape from a collaborative effort to combine elements of two opposing views on learning: off-the-job versus workplace learning. The article provides details on (a) the coaching context, (b) the main supportive others, and (c) the tools used to document the coaching topics that emerged from Dan’s coaching practice, as well as the learning material used, discussed, and created. When all the above content and materials were carefully organized and placed into folders, a unique “emerging curriculum” was formed and presented to the members of an evaluation committee who agreed that Dan met the HP coach certification criteria.
Canadian Curling Coaches’ Use of Psychological Skills Training
Kyle J. Paquette and Philip Sullivan
Multiple conceptual frameworks support the link between coaches’ attitudes and behaviors, and their effect on a variety of athlete outcomes, such as performance, motivation, and athlete self-perceptions. The present study explored the relationships among coaches’ attitudes and behaviors, with respect to psychological skills training (PST), and the beliefs of their athletes. One hundred and fifteen coaches completed PST attitude (SPA-RC-revised) and behavior measures, while 403 athletes completed two perception measures (CCS and SCI). Structural Equation Modeling showed that the proposed relationships were statistically significant, except for the pathway between coaches’ attitudes and their behaviors. Results support the disconnect between coaches’ attitudes and behaviors previously established in PST research, as well as the theoretical links between coaches’ behaviors and athletes’ perceptions (i.e., evaluation of their coach and self-confidence).
Participating in a Learner-Centered Coach Education Program: Composite Vignettes of Coaches’ and Coach Educators’ Experiences
Kyle Paquette, Pierre Trudel, Tiago Duarte, and Glenn Cundari
Given the inextricable roles of the coach learner and coach educator in learner-centered (LC) coach education, research into their perceptions and experiences in these programs appears to be a priority. As such, building on Paquette and Trudel’s examination of Canada’s golf coach education program relative to its alignment with learner-centered approaches, the present study examined coaches’ and coach educators’ perspectives of their experiences participating in the abovementioned program that was found to have a LC design. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 participants (6 coach educators and 10 coaches), and data were analyzed using a thematic analysis. The finalized themes were used as a narrative skeleton for the creation of the four composite vignettes. The vignettes represented the experiences of four composite characters relative to their learning orientations to learner-centered teaching (LCT) and instructor-centred teaching (ICT): LCT Coach Educator, LCT Coach, ICT Coach Educator, ICT Coach. As influenced by their cognitive structures, the vignettes depict the composite coaches’ varied engagement and perceptions of the program, as well as the coach educators’ varied delivery of the program and adherence to the program’s LC design. These diverse experiences are discussed in relation to the impact of LC coach education.
Mapping Canadian Wheelchair Curling Coaches’ Development: A Landscape Metaphor for a Systems Approach
Tiago Duarte, Diane M. Culver, and Kyle Paquette
This study addresses the preintervention phase of a larger project aimed at enhancing the learning capability of the Canadian wheelchair curling coaches’ landscape. To understand the learning leverage features and learning barriers of this landscape, a mapping exercise was conducted. The authors interviewed 16 people, using a semistructured interview guide. The thematic analysis and a landscape metaphor resulted in a map illustrating the main features of the landscape and where the learning potential might be. The findings of this study suggest that geographical isolation, the high costs associated with coach training, and the low number of athletes are all barriers to coaches’ learning. Therefore, with the information gleaned from this phase, an intervention for these coaches should be designed to prioritize meaningful learning opportunities, incorporate influential people noted by coaches, and leverage opportunities at training camps and competitions to mitigate the barriers identified. The landscape view allows for a systems approach that considers the potential of involving the different levels of the sport system to best serve the learning needs of coaches. Rather than focus on individual coach learning, research is needed to better understand how the landscape approach can build learning capability within sport organizations.
Framing a Social Learning Space for Wheelchair Curling
Tiago Duarte, Diane M. Culver, and Kyle Paquette
The purpose of this paper is to delineate how an intervention aimed at increasing the learning capability of Canadian wheelchair curling coaches was framed by a systems convener in collaboration with stakeholders from different levels. Social learning theory, in particular a landscape of practice perspective, provides the conceptual framework. The methodology was collaborative inquiry with people from across the landscape to delineate the intervention strategies through cycles of reflection and action. The participants included parasport coaches, researchers, and Curling Canada technical leaders. Based on preintervention findings, the intervention was driven by (a) the use of technology to overcome barriers and the implementation of learning activities at competitions, (b) the use of a collective learning map to promote meaningful learning, (c) the involvement of the sport organization leadership to promote the participation of influential people, and (d) a reflection of how subpar outcomes occurred when the systems convener failed to engage with the sport organization leadership. The discussion sheds light on the many roles of systems conveners and the importance of promoting strategic and enabling values. Sport organizations should engage a systems convener who can effectively align learning goals with the available resources and the strategic mission of the organization.
Assessing the Value Created in a Social Learning Space Intervention: Four Vignettes of Parasport Coaches
Tiago Duarte, Diane M. Culver, and Kyle Paquette
In this paper, the authors reflect on the current literature and the evolution of coach communities of practice and how the coach development area has embraced Wenger-Trayner’s social learning theory. Studies examining parasport coach development interventions, specifically those using a landscape of practice approach, are lacking. This paper is the third in a series about increasing learning capability in the wheelchair curling landscape. The authors utilized a collaborative approach to assess the learning value created through a 13-month social learning intervention. Four composite vignettes based on the coaches’ pathways and residency within the landscape were created from the data generated and analyzed using the value creation framework. The vignettes illustrate the many dimensions of learning values experienced by the coaches. This paper advances the literature surrounding social learning theory by providing examples of the novel concept of different dimensions of learning value. Applied implications are included.
A Sport Federation’s Attempt to Restructure a Coach Education Program Using Constructivist Principles
Kyle J. Paquette, Aman Hussain, Pierre Trudel, and Martin Camiré
Building on Hussain et al.’s (2012) analysis of Triathlon Canada’s constructivist-informed coach education program from the perspective of the program designer, this case study explored the structure and initial implementation of the program, as well as coaches’ perspectives of their journey to certification. Through a series of document analyses and interviews with the inaugural group of coach participants (N = 4), strategies for the application of constructivist principles are presented and discussed in relation to the coaches’ perspectives and coach development literature. More specifically, through its innovative use of learning activities and formative evaluation and assessment strategies, the program is shown to place considerable emphasis on coaches’ biographies, refection, and representation of learning. Finally, recommendations for coach educators are presented.
Impact of a Large-Scale Coach Education Program from a Lifelong-Learning Perspective
Diana Deek, Penny Werthner, Kyle J. Paquette, and Diane Culver
This study examines the impact of a coach education program on coach learning and perceived changes to coaching practices, while situating this episodic learning experience within a lifelong-learning perspective. Three sets of in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 coaches taking part in one of three competition-development modules within Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (Coaching and Leading Effectively, Managing Conflict, and Psychology of Performance). It was found that (a) the coaches’ biographies varied widely, (b) all of the coaches reported learning from the modules, (c) eight of ten coaches reported a change in their coaching practices as a result of participation in one of the modules, and (d) the coaches credited a combination of mediated, unmediated, and internal learning situations for their learning before and after the modules. These findings suggest that a large-scale coach education program can have an impact on coaches when the program takes a lifelong-learning perspective and integrates constructivist principles into its design and delivery.