The development of an ideal-type model of the coaching process and an exploratory investigation into the appropriateness of the model for coaches in three sports
The initial aim of the project was to devise and present an innovative model of the sports coaching process and to conduct an exploratory investigation into its aptness an an analytical tool for developing a more explicit understanding of the behaviour of coaches. Supported by the author’s considerable experience as a coach and in working with senior, experienced coaches, and an analysis and evaluation of relevant literature, a logico-deductive methodology is employed to construct an ideal-type model of the coaching process.
The model is conceptualised as a continuous cyclical coil, consisting of preparation and competition units, radiating around central goals and monitored via a potential performance constant. The coil represents a direct intervention core surrounded by indirect responsibilities and the external environment. The assumptions and key concepts around which the process is devised as described and the stages of the model explored in two-dimensional flow diagrams. The factors which constrain the application of the model are identified.
A panel of thirty experienced, senior coaches was invited to respond to the model. Following an analysis of the data generated from the panel of coaches, it is clear that the ideal-type model fails to offer an adequate basis for an understanding of the full-range of the coaches’ behaviour. To this extent the model had a limited utility as a ‘model of’ the coaching process.
The aims of the project were revised in order to attempt to account for the unanticipated findings. The work of Schon (1983) is employed to provide a theoretical framework which offers a more useful interpretation of the research findings.
The study concludes that the ideal-type model does not provide an adequate understanding of the behaviour of the panel of coaches employed in the study, but that proposals for further research which build constructively on the systematic framework offered by the model and incorporate Schon’s incrementalist approach to professional practice, offer considerable promise for the future.