The purpose of this paper is to present, using Moon’s (1999, 2004) generic view of learning, a new theoretical perspective in order to understand how coaches learn to coach. After presenting her main concepts, a case study of an elite Canadian coach is used to illustrate the different learning processes in three types of learning situations: mediated, unmediated, and internal. We believe this new view of how coaches learn provides a way to see coach development from the coach’s perspective and helps us understand why the path to becoming a coach is often idiosyncratic. Finally, the potential of this conceptual research framework for the study of coaches’ development, specifically at the elite/expert level, is discussed.
Penny Werthner and Pierre Trudel
Shaunna L. Taylor, Penny Werthner, and Diane Culver
The complex process of sport coaching is a dynamic and evolving practice that develops over a long period of time. As such, a useful constructivist perspective on lifelong learning is Jarvis’ (2006, 2009) theory of human learning. According to Jarvis, how people learn is at the core of understanding how we can best support educational development. The purpose of the current study is to explore the lifelong learning of one parasport coach who stood out in his feld, and how his coaching practice evolved and developed throughout his life. A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to extract themes and examples from three two-hour interviews as well as interviews with key collaborators in his coaching network. The findings reveal a coach whose coaching practice is founded on pragmatic problem solving in the face of a lack in resources; an investment in formal and nonformal adapted activity education at the start of his parasport career; and observation, communication, and relationship-building with his athletes and the parasport community. Suggestions are provided for coach developers on how they might invest resources and create learning opportunities for coaches of athletes with a disability.
Margaret Dupee, Tanya Forneris, and Penny Werthner
The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived outcomes of a biofeedback and neurofeedback training intervention with high performance athletes. Five Olympic level athletes preparing for world championships and the 2012 Olympic Games took part in a 20 session intervention over the period of one year. At the completion of the intervention, a semistructured interview was conducted with each athlete. The athletes indicated that they became more self-aware, were better able to self-regulate both their physiological and psychological states, developed a greater sense of personal control, and a greater understanding of skills inherent in the field of sport psychology. Three of the athletes made the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 Olympic Games and two of those athletes won bronze medals. The present study suggests that biofeedback and neurofeedback training may be useful in enabling athletes to perform optimally, in both training and competition, on a consistent basis.
Diane M. Culver, Penny Werthner, and Pierre Trudel
The Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) redesigned its coaching education programmes to utilise a learner-centred, problem-based approach. The purpose of this paper is to document the design, delivery, and subjective assessment of this large-scale coach education programme through the perspectives of the different actors, with a special focus on the coach developers (CDs) as an essential and important group within the coach education system. A constructivist view of learning, supported by the work of Jennifer Moon on the impact of short courses and workshops, guided this work. Part 1 of the results provides an overview of the studies conducted on the revised NCCP. Part 2 examines the perspectives of 26 CDs concerning their training and experiences delivering the redesigned NCCP. Conclusions include the importance of considering the cognitive structures of the CDs and coach learners; issues related to covering the module content versus addressing coaches’ learning needs; ensuring adequate time for questions and reflection to enable deep learning; specific training for CDs to support post-workshop learning; and the importance of taking a systems approach to coach development that considers all the actors involved in a national programme being delivered at the provincial/territorial or sport organisational level.
Sommer Christie, Maurizio Bertollo, and Penny Werthner
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) neurofeedback training (NFT) and biofeedback training (BFT) intervention on ice hockey shooting performance. Specifically, the purpose was to examine (a) whether an NFT/BFT program could improve ice hockey shooting performance, (b) whether the implementation of an SMR-NFT intervention leads to neurological adaptations during performance, and (c) whether such neurological changes account for improvement in shooting performance. Using a longitudinal stratified random control design, results demonstrated that while both SMR-NFT/BFT and control groups improved performance, the rate of improvement for the SMR-NFT/BFT group was significantly higher than the control. Participants in the SMR-NFT/BFT group demonstrated the ability to significantly increase SMR power from pre- to postintervention in the lab. However, no significant changes in SMR power were found during shooting performance. This result may be suggestive of differing cortical activity present during motor-skill preparation.
Bettina Callary, Dr. Penny Werthner, and Dr. Pierre Trudel
Using Jarvis’ (2006) psychosocial perspective of human learning, we explore how the career choices and the subsequent coaching approaches of five Canadian women coaches have been influenced by their primary and secondary socialization. A content analysis was performed to identify how coaches learned in their primary socialization with their family, and in their secondary socialization at school and in their sport experiences. The findings indicate that the learning situations in their primary and secondary socialization influence the coaches’ career choices and their subsequent coaching approaches. These findings have implications for coaching education, enabling course developers and facilitators to understand (a) the importance of creating environments where coaches are able to critically reflect, and (b) how coaching approaches can be influenced by early life experiences.
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.
Bettina Callary, Diane Culver, Penny Werthner, and John Bales
High quality education programs across the globe could help coaching move forward as a profession. Although there have been suggestions to improve sports coaching education programs by integrating theory and practice through alternative learning approaches such as mentoring and critical refection (Armour, 2010; Cushion, Armour, & Jones, 2003), it is unclear whether such approaches have been implemented in coach education programs and how different countries are educating their coaches. The purpose of this paper is to describe how seven high performance coach education programs are educating coaches and to what extent they are employing alternative learning approaches. The goals, curricula, and pedagogical approaches are described and implications for the professionalization of coaching are discussed.