How Parasport Coaches Learn Through Interactions with Others
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How Parasport Coaches Learn Through Interactions with Others

How Parasport CoachesLearn Through Interactionswith OthersBy Sarah M. Cybulski, MA StudentTiago Duarte, MA Student& Diane M. Culver, PhDSchool of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa

Parasport Coaching• Requires unique coachingabilities• Call for research 25 yearsago (DePauw, 1986)• Interactions important forable-bodied (Cushion,Armour, & Jones, 2003)and Cregan, Bloom, andReid (2007) found thesame in parasport coaches

Coach Learning• Formal learning (Nelson, Cushion, & Potrac, 2006)– Coach education programs, guided– Set curriculum• Non-formal learning (Nelson et al., 2006)– Structured but short term– Provide select and specific information• Informal Learning (Nelson et al., 2006)– No structure and guidance– Interacting

Problem and Question• Little research (Cregan et. al, 2007)• Few formal and nonformal learningopportunities• Who are coaches interacting with and what arethey learning through these interactions?

MethodologyParticipants:• 5 parasport coaches• 2 Para-Alpine Ski, 1 Wheelchair Basketball, 1Strength and Conditioning, 1 Para-triathlon• All able-bodied• 2 had parasport specific coach education

Methodology Continued• Semi-structured interviews (Secondaryanalysis of SSHRC-funded study on parasportcoaches)• Braun & Clarke’s (2006) Thematic analysis1. Familiarization – Transcription2. Manual Coding3. Defining themes4. Refining themes5. Choosing Extracts

ResultsFour Main Themes1. Athletes2. Other Coaches3. Family4. Mentors

Interactions with Athletes• Learning about natureof the disability• Limits• Drill/movementmodification“Engaging with the individuals that I’m working with to knowwhat works best for them...we talk about why it might notwork and [find] a suitable adaptation... because everybody isso different, I realized that I can’t just develop a cookiecutterprogram for everybody.” ~ Coach 1

Interactions with Other ParasportCoaches/Instructors• Problem solving• Drill modification• Not always coaches ofthe same sport“[We’re] kind of like a support group. If anybody has anyproblems with trying to help a player learn how to dosomething, we can give each other advice on that.” ~ Coach2

Interactions with Family• Problemsolving/objectiveperspective• Family memberbackground“I am married to a nurse and that’s helped me a lot interms of getting contexts...find out about the nature ofthe different disabilities. You take advantages of theresources that you have close.” ~ Coach 1

Interactions with Mentors• Mentors from ablebodiedcoaching• Those without amentor wanted one“When I coached swimming the head coach was always amentor to me... so I learned a ton. He had me come andassist at his practice, and then coach my own.” ~ Coach 5“I think that [being mentored] could have been beneficial.” ~Coach 2

Discussion• Interactions with different groups offersdiverse learning• Determining nature of disability from athleteswas important (Cregan et al., 2007)• Interacting with other coaches not limited bycompetitive nature of sport• Frequent informal learning reflects that thereis a lack of specific programming andresources

Conclusion and Future Directions• How parasport coaches arelearning can be used to createmore parasport specific formalcoach education• The nuances of parasport shouldnot be disregarded• Expanding depth and breadth ofresearch, for example, examiningparasport coaches in othercountries• Integration of research intoprogramming

ReferencesBraun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology.Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(37), 77-101.Cregan, K., Bloom, G.A., & Reid, G. (2007). Career evolution andknowledge of elite coaches of swimmers with a physical disability.Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 78 (4), 339-350.Cushion, C.J., Armour, K.M., Jones, R.L. (2003). Coach education andcontinuing professional development: Expereince and learning tocoach. Quest, 55, 215-230.DePauw, K. P. (1986). Research on sport for athletes with disabilities.Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 3(4), 292-299.Nelson, L., Cushion, C., & Potrac, P. (2006). Formal, nonformal, andinformal coach learning: A holistic approach. International Journal ofSports Science & Coaching, 1(3), 247-259.


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