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ItemElite Sports Coaching and Feedback: The use of communication and metacognitive strategies in sportJackson, Brendan Craig ( 2020)The similarities in skills of coaches and teachers have been of particular interest to researchers for half a century. Within coaching research, the emphasis has been on coach observation studies, whereas in education research the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions on student outcomes has been the focus. Furthermore, most coaching literature explores coaches at the sub-elite level. Crucially, to develop coaching practice, more information is needed regarding the impacts feedback, pedagogical techniques and instructional interventions employed by coaches have on athlete outcomes in the elite sporting environment. A mixed-methods approach was used in this thesis to explore the impact of coaches’ actions and behaviours on elite teams. In Part A, communication between the senior coach, three assistant coaches and 45 players from the VFLW competition were explored across a six-week period; during meetings, training sessions and competition. Feedback was predominantly descriptive in nature, with the exception of in-competition settings, where prescriptive feedback was predominant. Coaches and players asked minimal questions of one another regardless of the format of the interactions. In Part B, nine VFLW players were interviewed about their feedback preferences. Players preferred individual, specific and prescriptive feedback. Players acknowledged the benefits of video review feedback yet suggested playing an active role in the review process would improve learning. In Part C, a metacognitive strategy (Think Aloud) was introduced into the player review process for 14 AFLW players. This occurred across an entire pre-season and season of the AFLW competition to assess the impact it had on the understanding and performance of a tactical concept. The results showed an effect size of 0.68 for the introduction of a metacognitive strategy on athlete understanding and performance outcomes, compared to 0.37 for no metacognitive strategy. Major conclusions relate to coach feedback not always reflecting player preferences for how feedback is communicated, with feedback tending to be descriptive in nature. Players and coaches evaluate understanding and performance differently, however the implementation of metacognitive strategies into coaching practice led to a higher impact on athlete learning and was similar to the effects reported in prior educational research with students. Further exploration of the overlap of effective teaching pedagogies and their applicability to sports coaching practice would be useful.
ItemInvestigating how students receive, interpret, and respond to teacher feedbackMandouit, Luke William ( 2020)Feedback has been studied extensively in relation to its impact on student learning and is established as a high impact intervention on achievement, emotions, confidence, and motivation. In order to be effective, feedback must be timely, actionable, related to learning goals, and provide advice as to next steps in the student’s learning. Yet research has also demonstrated the significant variability relating to the influence, with research suggesting that effective strategies vary based on the characteristics of the learner. However, the research is dominated by a focus on the giving of feedback and far less on how students receive feedback. Studies into student perceptions of feedback is lacking with little known about how the information provided is listened to, or received, along with the emotional responses that feedback may stimulate, and how this may influence learning. The aim of this thesis is to investigate student perceptions of teacher feedback, and to develop a deeper understanding of how students receive, interpret, and respond to it. Employing a cross-sectional research design using multi-methods, this study consisted of a large-scale questionnaire in which students responded to various feedback samples and gave insights as to their perceived usefulness and how each might engage the student. A smaller sample of students then participated in semi-structured interviews based on the themes that emerged from the survey data, providing insights as to how students respond to, make sense of, and apply feedback. Findings give insights into a range of feedback processes. Firstly, learners assign their own meaning to the feedback regardless of whether the information provided to them is explicit or not. Secondly, they assign this meaning based on prior feedback experiences, capacity to self-reflect, or through dialogue with teacher or peers. Thirdly, the emotional affect of the information provided influences its effect on learning. Finally, students have clear views about what constitutes effective feedback practice to enhance learning.
ItemExamining the knowledge, use, and reception of verbal coach feedback across high performance sport environmentsMason, Robert Joshua ( 2020)An academic interest in the teaching skills of sports coaches emerged in the 1970s, and has since expanded into a sizeable body of coach observation literature in which coach behaviours are recorded and analysed. A consistent finding in these studies is that verbal coach to athlete feedback represents one of the most common coach behaviours observed. Given its prevalence, understanding and harnessing the power of coach feedback to improve athlete outcomes appears an important endeavour in enhancing coach effectiveness. However, there are several gaps in the evidence base related to coach feedback that require further exploration. For example, relatively little is known about the ways in which coaches provide verbal feedback across various settings typical of a high performance sporting environment: during competition, and during video-based feedback meetings. A major criticism of feedback research in other fields is that it considers feedback given, but fails to account for the reception and subsequent action on feedback by a receiver such as a student or athlete. Importantly, in order to influence coach practice, more information is needed about the knowledge and beliefs that coaches hold about the provision, reception, and evaluation of verbal feedback. This thesis sought to address gaps in the literature related to coaches’ knowledge about feedback, the influence of context on the provision of feedback, and athlete reception of feedback, using coaches of team sports working at the high performance level. A mixed-methods approach was adopted to undertake the three studies that make up the thesis. In Study 1, eight high performance coaches were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs about feedback provision, reception, and evaluation. Coaches were able to articulate a range of ideas about feedback, including tailoring their feedback to the individual needs of their athletes, and allowing athletes to self-organise and develop autonomy through finding their own solutions. In Study 2, six coach-athlete dyads were observed in individual video-based feedback meetings. Athlete recall of feedback and athlete characteristics hypothesised to influence the reception of feedback were considered. Major findings included the notion that feedback given does not equal feedback received, with up to 94% of feedback not recalled by athletes at a one-week retention interval. Coach feedback was largely positive, descriptive, and task-focussed. In Study 3, verbal in-game feedback provided to athletes across an entire season of Australian Rules football was observed and analysed. In this context, coach feedback was primarily negative, prescriptive and controlling. Feedback increased in frequency during periods where the score was close, became more positive/less controlling in winning quarters, and more negative/more controlling in losing quarters. Major conclusions from this thesis include the finding that what coaches know about feedback does not always reflect how they provide feedback; instead, feedback varies widely based on the context in which it is given. This variation between contexts may represent an area for improving coach practice, but may also be seen as a necessity by coaches for adapting to the environment in which feedback is given. A major area for future research and coach education to consider is the notion that feedback given does not equal feedback received, and that methods for evaluating feedback reception should be explored.