Subjective Theories on Feedback of High Level Athletics Coaches and Their Athletes

Katja Schmitt, Udo Hanke


In sport science, research on augmented feedback in motor learning has received special attention for quite some time. In many traditional studies on feedback, however, the complexity of the interaction process when giving and receiving feedback was reduced, limiting the focus of research either to fundamentals of motor learning, to descriptive studies on observable feedback behavior of coaches or to measuring the effectiveness of augmented feedback on learning process. Naturally these limitations contributed to a narrowing of the notion of feedback. The following study broadens the scope of research by supplementing the observable processes of feedback interaction by reconstructing the cognitive processes, i.e. subjective theories of coaches and their athletes. Based on an epistemological view of humans it can be assumed that coaches as well as their athletes have developed implicit theories on feedback that they hold to be optimal for developing motor skills. In cases where the subjective theory of a coach is in agreement with the theory on feedback of his or her athlete, interaction should be void of "communicative friction." Using the research program on "subjective theories" developed by GROEBEN, WAHL, SCHLEE and SCHEELE (1988) as a starting point, 25 top-level coach-athlete dyads in track and field were interviewed, reconstructing their individualized subjective theories on feedback by applying a new method of reconstruction. In addition to this, the observable behavior of the coach was videotaped during a normal training session. A comparison of subjective theories was carried out and the videotaped data allowed for an additional comparison that of subjective theories to the behavior displayed by the coach. The results indicated that in 15 out of 25 pairs the reconstructed theories of feedback were largely congruent, while agreement between the verbalized theories of the coach and his observable behavior averaged only 60%.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0301133


feedback; coach-athlete-interaction; subjective theories on feedback

Copyright (c) 2003 Katja Schmitt, Udo Hanke

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