Coach Approaches to Practice Design in Performance Tennis

ANDERSON, Emma, STONE, Joseph, DUNN, Marcus and HELLER, Ben (2021). Coach Approaches to Practice Design in Performance Tennis. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.

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Research demonstrates the benefits of a more contemporary, ecological-dynamics led approach in sport coaching; however, traditional methods of practice design persist. Few studies have explored the intentions of performance tennis coaches as they design practice. This study explored performance tennis coach philosophies and approaches to practice design. Interviews took place with ten high performance coaches who worked within a national tennis performance network. A thematic analysis revealed that coach approaches to practice design were informed by 1) their experiential knowledge and 2) their beliefs regarding player development. Coaches emerged as learners, who developed their knowledge through unmediated, informal learning opportunities, for example reflective practice and ‘on the job' experience. Six coaches had played tennis professionally, valuing this as a learning experience that informed their own practice. Three common beliefs regarding player development emerged between participants: repeatable players, performing under pressure, and individualised practice. These beliefs formed practice design principles, which translated into a uniform implementation of drills (serial, blocked, repeated patterns of play) and the intuitive inclusion of representative practice designs and constraints manipulation. The findings from this study suggest that, although performance tennis coaches are aware of contemporary approaches to practice design, a traditional, information-processing approach to skill development dominates their design of practice tasks. This study documents approaches to practice design in elite tennis and contributes to a growing body of pedagogical research in performance sport.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2021 12:08
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 09:30

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