Observation of performance forms a critical part of the complex coaching process. A professional judgment and decision making (PJDM) framework enables optimum decisions to be made under time pressure and with limited information that derive from that observation. Observation and the associated decision making can be particularly affected by heuristic bias. We extend the work on PJDM via a greater focus on its relationship with observation within the coaching process. After revisiting PJDM and observation, we introduce and explore heuristics as a “tool” within the observation process. Specifically, we propose that observation is prone to heuristics built on a coach’s experience and understanding. We report on a small scale preliminary investigation with a group of high-level paddle sport coaches. We identify heuristics that both restrict and enhance the effectiveness of the observation in an effort to promote discussion and further research.
Scott Simon, Loel Collins, and Dave Collins
David J. Collins, Loel Collins, and Tom Willmott
In a recent paper in ISCJ, Ojala and Thorpe offered a culturally based observation that questions the role and application of coaching in action sports. Their critique is focused on the action sport of snowboarding which, despite its’ comparatively recent inclusion in the Olympics, retains a different, almost collaborative rather than competitive culture more akin to other action sports such as skateboarding and surfing. Ojala and Thorpe then present Problem Based Learning (PBL) as the solution to many of these perceived ills, describing the positive characteristics of the approach and promoting its cultural fit with action sport environments and performers. In this paper we offer a different perspective, which questions the veracity of the data presented and the unquestioningly positive view of PBL as the answer. Our alternative, data-driven perspective suggests that action sport athletes are increasingly positive, or even desirous of good coaching, of which PBL is a possible approach; suitable for some athletes some of the time.
Loel Collins, Howie J. Carson, and Dave Collins
Previous research has emphasised the dynamic nature of coaching practice and the need to consider both individual performer needs and necessary contextual trade-offs in providing optimum solutions. In this regard, a Professional Judgment and Decision Making framework has been suggested to facilitate an optimum blend of actions against these complex and dynamic demands. Accordingly, we extend this work and address recent calls for greater focus on expertise-oriented assessments, by postulating on the aspirant/developing coach’s capacity for and development of metacognition (i.e., active control over cognitive processes) as a ‘tool’ within the reflective process. Specifically, we propose that metacognition enables essential active cognitive processing for deep learning and impactful application, together with construction and refinement of useable knowledge to inform coaching decisions. Metacognition, therefore, helps to contextualise knowledge provided in training, further optimising the experience, particularly before certification. Finally, we exemplify how metacognition can be developed in coaches through the use of cognitive apprenticeships and decision training tools; and evaluated via a series of observed coaching episodes, with reasoning articulated through pre and postsession interview. Despite challenging traditional competency-based approaches to coach education, we believe that a considered mixed approach represents a vital next step in further professionalising sports coaching.
Chris Eastabrook, Robin D. Taylor, Pamela Richards, and Loel Collins
An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that high-level adventure sports coaches are developing their learners towards a personalised conception of independence in their activities. However, how coaches do this has yet to receive much attention. This investigation draws on a thematic analysis of 10 semistructured interviews that followed coaching sessions with an explicit focus on developing independence. Three themes emerged: developing a cognitive performer, an attuned coaching process that fosters independence, and developing the individual’s capacity to learn. The findings suggest that learners have an explicit comprehension of the “what and why” of the performance and coaches develop the learner’s ability to learn both how and where to continue their development postcoaching. The coaches achieve these two objectives by developing a long-term independent performance in their coaching practice. Coaches are not trying to develop fully independent performances during coaching, but instead to prepare learners to continue their development with adaptable performances within the practicalities of learning in adventurous environments.