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ERIC Number: EJ901083
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 98
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Learning a New Method: Teaching Games for Understanding in the Coaches' Eyes
Harvey, Stephen; Cushion, Christopher J.; Massa-Gonzalez, Ada N.
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v15 n4 p361-382 Oct 2010
Background: Coaches' knowledge and actions are both the product and manifestation of a personally experienced involvement with the coaching process; they are linked to the coach's history and both are attributable to how they were learned. Changing established coaching practice can be problematic, particularly as coaching lacks a critical tradition, and coaches are more likely to be seen sticking with "safer", "tried and tested", traditional methods. Butler recently noted in 2005 that approaches such as Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) offer a way for practitioners to challenge their practice, move from a "comfort zone" and open themselves up to self-reflection. Purpose: With this in mind, the purpose of this study was to explore how two interscholastic soccer coaches incorporated TGfU into their coaching practice. Methods: Two interscholastic soccer coaches; Brad, an experienced Head coach of the program and coach of the varsity team (n = 18), and Jeff, a first-year coach in the program and the coach of the first-year team (n = 16) (both pseudonyms) and their players participated in the study. The study was conducted over the length of one 12-week interscholastic soccer season and involved a four-week pre-observation followed by an eight-session TGfU soccer unit focused on the defensive off-the-ball aspects of performance. Data collection was conducted in three stages: (1) participant observation of the two coaches and their players using Metzler's benchmarks as discussed in 2000; (2) data from these observations were used to construct questions for semi-structured interview schedules with the two coaches and players (n = 3) following each TGfU session; and (3) an end-of-unit interview with the two coaches. The data were analysed using the procedures and techniques of grounded theory. Following analysis, three overall themes emerged: (1) coach perceptions of using TGfU; (2) coach pedagogy; and (3) players' perceptions. Results and discussion: Findings showed that the two coaches' values, beliefs and dispositions were challenged by the TGfU approach, and TGfU was a way in which the coaches were able to recognize potential areas for improvement and development in their coaching practice. In addition, the institutionalized context of the coaching practice made it difficult for Brad to develop his use of TGfU while Jeff, in contrast, observed early in the intervention how TGfU could help develop not only his own coaching practice but advance player learning through the appropriate use of questioning and stepping back. Conclusions: (1) While this study showed that both coaches altered their coaching practice to a varied degree by using TGfU, neither coach totally adopted TGfU into their coaching practice and it had not influenced them sufficiently to impact their coaching identity. (2) There is scope for larger scale and/or longitudinal coaching interventions that attempt to move sports coaches toward more athlete-centred coaching practices. As a result, a case could be made for more TGfU/Game Sense within formal coach education, not only as a means to develop athlete-centred coaching, but also as a way for coaches to understand theories of learning that underpin practice. (Contains 1 note and 3 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United States