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The knowledge development of an expert gymnastics coach and the significance of the coach education structure in this development process

Methven, Kirsty Jane


Kirsty Jane Methven


The purpose of this study was to identify the process underlying the knowledge development of expert gymnastic coaches. This research looked specifically at; how expert gymnastic coaches develop knowledge, how they use their knowledge at appropriate times, and how their knowledge affects the decisions they make. An evaluation of the coach education courses provided by the National Governing Body for gymnastics was made. An understanding of the significance of the coach education courses within this knowledge development process was also outlined. This paper outlines the knowledge development pathway of five expert gymnastic coaches, offering ideas for a more targeted coach education structure. A qualitative research methodology based on the tradition of grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) was used to identify the knowledge domain representing coaching expertise in gymnastics.
In order to maximise the validity of the study the researcher used similar protocols to Cote et al's (1995a) study and a similar interviewing set-up and questions to Nash and Sproule's (2009) study. In-depth interviews were conducted with five expert gymnastic coaches to elicit two key aims; (1) how they developed their coaching knowledge to an expert level and (2) the significance of the coach education structure in the development of coaching knowledge. Following qualitative analysis of the five interviews, four main themes emerged from the data. The themes are as follows; Knowledge Structures, Coach Education Experiences, Developmental Opportunities, and Application of Theory to Practice. The main findings of this study concluded that the five expert coaches developed their coaching knowledge expertise predominately through informal sources such as mentoring, sharing knowledge and ideas, and observing other more experienced coaches. Less significant was the development of knowledge through coach education courses, where the coaches indicated that the coach education courses provided an inadequate learning process that did not consider coaching expertise within their structure.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Sports coaching; gymnastics; coach education; knowledge transfer;
Public URL
Award Date 2012-09

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