The coaching process continues to evolve. It is far more than just preparing athletes for competition and by the very nature of their profession, coaches operate in a complex social and ambiguous environment (Bowes & Jones, 2006; Fletcher and Scott, 2010).
"Many approaches to learning are valued to help coaches develop theoretical and practical knowledge required to be sensitive to, and better cope with, the peculiarities, intricacies and ambiguities of coaching" (Jones & Wallace, 2005)
What is reflection?
Reflection is the process of examining past practice and experience so as to improve learning. It is a form of problem-solving (Hatton & Smith, 1995) involving the thought and exploration of a concept or event (Gray, 2007).
Reflection-in-action sees coaches reflect on the issue as it presents itself, utilising experience and problem-solving to create and try out solutions. Rather, reflection-on-action occurs after the event with a view to future improvement. (Furlong & Maynard, 1995; Hatton & Smith, 1995; Mitchel, 2013).
Reflection helps to turn experience into knowledge (Gilbert & Trudel, 2001)
It links professional knowledge and practice (Anderson, Knowles and Gilbourne, 2004)
Reflective practices helps a coach to consolidate understanding of the problem and to invent better or more general solutions (Furlong & Maynard, 1995).
Jackson (2004) explains that reflection works because it:
Balance learning by experience and generate new learning
Objective stance when viewing your experience
Perspective of overall goals in relation to actions
Develop Capability to react more quickly and effectively to future challenges.
We don't habitually learn from experience, but instead experience has to be examined, organised and considered so as to shift knowledge (Cropley, Miles & Peel, 2012)
Barnett (1995) and Kidman & Hanrahan (1997) presented the following five step process:
1. Identification of problem
2. Determination of similarities to other situations
3. Frame and reframe the problem
4. Anticipate possible consequences or implications of the various solutions
5. Determine if the anticipate consequences are desired
Francis (1995) also presented a structure for reflective journal writing:
1. Describe - what did I do?
2. Informing - what does this mean?
3. Confronting - how did I come to be this way?
4. Reconstructing - how could I do this differently?
Coaches should be encourages to reflect on both positive and negative experiences that also consider the competitive process and their role within it (Knowles et al, 2006)
The most important resource for coach development is mentoring (Irwin et al, 2004)
NGB's should create opportunities for coaches to reflect with others (Cropley et al, 2012)
Others can explain this considerably better than I, the basis of my reading on the topic were the following articles: