Identification and conceptualization of expert high performance gymnastic coaches' knowledge.

Identification and conceptualization of expert high performance gymnastic coaches' knowledge.

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Title: Identification and conceptualization of expert high performance gymnastic coaches' knowledge.
Author: Côté, Jean.
Abstract: An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high performance gymnastic coaches. The selection of expert high performance coaches was based on multiple criteria. First, a minimum of 10 years of coaching experience was required. Second, each of the expert coaches required a performance outcome measure, and thus needed to have developed at least one international and two national level gymnasts. Finally, each expert coach had to be recognized by Canada's national coach as one of the best in Canada for developing elite gymnasts. By using a qualitative research method based on the traditions of cognitive anthropology (Spradley, 1979) and symbolic interactionism (Blumer, 1969; Glaser & Strauss, 1967), this study focused on the first two stages of the knowledge aquisition process for building an expert system: identification and conceptualization. The results of the identification stage indicated that the interview transcripts of coaches of males and females were divided into 595 and 560 meaningful episodes of information or "meaning units" (Tesch, 1990), respectively. The inductive analysis process allowed these meaning units to be regrouped into 134 properties, 28 categories, and 6 components. The components emerging from the analysis were the same for coaches of males and females and consisted of: (1) competition, (2) training, (3) organization, (4) coach's personal characteristics, (5) gymnast's personal characteristics and level of development, and (6) contextual factors. The categories and properties of coaches' knowledge varied slightly in number and by their nature for coaches of males and coaches of females. Attempts to explain differences in the categories of knowledge elicited by coaches of males and coaches of females were made in light of the evident age-related and gender specific task differences in men's and women's gymnastics. The results of the conceptualization stage indicated that the coaches' mental model of various situations was built through the assessment of three "peripheral components," consisting of their own personal characteristics, the gymnasts' personal characteristics and level of development, and some contextual factors. The mental model resulting from this assessment guided the coaches for their intervention in the "competition," "training," and "organization" components, defined as the "coaching process." The large arsenal of coaches' organized hierarchically through the difference properties, categories, and components allows expert coaches to rapidly assess situations that do not fit their mental model and, consequently make the appropriate changes. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Date: 1993
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/6810

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