Conventional Learning Theory: Modelling The Coaching Process

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Modelling the Coaching Process
Conventional learning theory (Dewey, 1938) explains that observation and judgement are crucial to the learning process, encouraging incorporation of such thinking in standardised models. Initially, simplistic cyclical models were proposed, reactive in nature (Stratton et al., 2004) and of 3 stage ‘experience-reflection-plan’ or 4 stage ‘experience-reflection-conclude-plan’ (Kolb, 1984; Gibbs, 1998).

Coaching theorists initially adopted rudimentary models (Crisfield et al., 1996; Fairs, 1987; Sherman et al., 1997) – see Appendix A, Figure 1 (Franks et al., 1986) and Figure 3 (Jones, 2002), though contemporary thinking has developed once scale, complexity and understanding of coaching began to mature
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Even establishing if either or both demand a behaviourist or humanist approach for best practice is ambiguous, as are the attempts to define and differentiate the terms “educator”, “coach” and “teacher” (Bergmann Drewe, 2000a). Prior to becoming a successful, well researched (Côté and Gilbert, 2009), elite basketball coach, John Wooden, was a well-renowned teacher, he described himself an educator (Wooden, 1997), but neither a coach nor a teacher.

A direct-instruction classified approach (Lodewyk, 2015), originating from behaviourist theory (Watson, 1913), is the most common delivery style of physical education teachers and coaches (Butler, 2005). The practice relies on inflexibly structured physical instruction, prioritisation of skill mastery and technical execution in isolation, a lack of engagement and purposeful interaction which cultivates disaffected participants (Azzarito & Ennis, 2003), perhaps defining a different approach between coaches (and physical education teachers) and
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There are other expedient areas where innate and desired traits are shared. For example, hard work, positive approach, not being over-paternalistic (Hardman et al., 2010) and the ongoing application of best practice are common across both. Additionally, frugal use of extrinsic rewards, which can suppress athletes/students becoming motivated by end rewards and failing in performance of their own actions (Kidman and Hanrahan, 2011) and avoidance of sanctioned punishment, either physical in nature or administered impersonally, should be avoided (Kidman and Hanrahan, 2011), all desirable to prevent the perception of authoritarianism.

The pedagogies of teaching and coaching share many characteristics, e.g. Cognitive approach likely accepted to generate more success in both compared to instruction style (Bruning et al., 2011). Providing nuanced differences are acknowledged, Wooden’s extensive pre-planning being a high-profile example, it could be suggested that the pedagogies of are so similar they are simply variations of each
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