Date of Graduation
College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
M. Ryan Flett
In this dissertation, I explore the use of reflective practice among a group of youth sport coaches. More specifically, reflective practice as facilitated through use of videos and repeated interviews, with the intent to inspire greater awareness, malleability, and positive behavior change is presented. To synthesize this research, the following topics: coaching identity and the role of the coach, coach education and its misalignment with the goals of youth coaches, counseling as a means of mentoring, self-awareness and reflection, and behavior change, are discussed. In the current coach education literature, there is a gap in the types of education volunteer youth coaches are receiving, as it does not align with their coaching goals (McCullick et al., 2009; Trudel, Culver, & Werthner, 2013). Also, there tends to be a misuse or minimal use of reflective practices in the coaching field, which may limit positive behaviors (Tripp & Rich, 2012; Rosaen et al., 2008; Kinsella, 2010; Mann, Gordon, & MacLeod, 2009; Gilbert & Trudel, 2001). Since increasing self-awareness has been found to be an effective behavior change agent, it is logical to employ with youth sport coaches of varying education and ability (Lemyre, Trudel, & Durand-Bush, 2007). Closing the intention-behavior gap in coaching was the primary goal of this study. In doing so, this study may serve as a template for new practices that may be explored further to benefit coaches and youth sport participants alike.
Participants included five head coaches of youth basketball leagues who were 38.4 years of age on average with 4.6 years of coaching experience,and 101 players, ages 7-10, from 10 teams in the league. The study incorporated four coach interviews, a quantitative coach satisfaction survey, and quantitative surveys for players in the league. An abductive approach was used to develop thematic categories from the interview data (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014).
Quantitative results revealed players rating in coach commitment and connection as significantly increasing over time, and coach caring and complementarity increasing minimally. More importantly, results indicated that increases were greater for players on teams with coaches involved in the intervention. Participant coaches endorsed the usefulness and supportiveness of the reflection intervention used in this study.
Qualitative results revealed coaches have common goals of positive sport experience for youth, and with repeated interview, increase in their self-awareness by using reflection in their coaching. Additionally, using reflective practices through repeated dialogue and video review led to moderate behavior changes in participant coaches, that increased over time throughout the season.
McWilliams, Stephanie R., "Use of Reflective Practices to Improve Self-Awareness in Youth Sport Coaches" (2019). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3770.