Harnessing socio-cultural constraints on athlete development to create a form of life

ROTHWELL, Martyn, DAVIDS, Keith and STONE, Joseph (2017). Harnessing socio-cultural constraints on athlete development to create a form of life. Journal of Expertise.

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Abstract

The role of task constraints manipulation in pedagogical practice has received considerable attention in recent years, although there has been little focus on the role of socio-cultural constraints on an athlete's development to elite performance. Here, we aim to integrate ideas from a range of scientific sub disciplines to consider why certain behaviours and cultures (socio-cultural constraints) may exist in sport performance and coaching. Using recent conceptualisations of affordances in ecological dynamics, we explore how socio-cultural constraints may influence an athlete's development and relationship with a performance context. We also highlight how workplace practices emanating from the industrialisation of the nineteenth-century in countries like the UK may have influenced coaching practice and organisational behaviours from that time on. In particular, features such as strict work regimes and rigid role specification may have reduced personal autonomy, de-skilled performers and induced a 'body as machine' philosophy within sporting organisations.These traits could be considered counter to expert performance in sports where creativity and adaptive decision-making are important skills for athletes to possess. We propose that ecological dynamics is a theoretical framework that enhances the understanding of the influential nature of socio-cultural constraints on the development of athlete performance. Key ideas suggest that sport pedagogists and practitioners could develop methodologies which help design practice landscapes rich in information to encourage athlete autonomy to search for relevant affordances which invite functionally relevant actions for competitive performance with physical, psychological, emotional and social dimensions. Future research is needed to explore a range of sports to identify and clarify the relationship between socio-cultural constraints and expertise acquisition.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Departments: Health and Well-being > Sport
Depositing User: Martyn Rothwell
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 10:30
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 23:47
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18537

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