Tracking relations between development of tactical knowledge and tactical behaviour: a season-long action research study

RAMOS, A, DAVIDS, Keith, COUTINHO, P and MESQUITA, I (2022). Tracking relations between development of tactical knowledge and tactical behaviour: a season-long action research study. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.

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Background: Specific learning experiences are vital for athletes to continuously interact with developing knowledge of the performance environment, through the refined design of representative learning contexts (ecological paradigm), and appropriate didactical interventions (constructivist paradigm). Although there is a well-established relationship between tactical knowledge (TK) and tactical behaviours (TB), research has investigated the development of both separately. Thus, the inter-dependency between knowledge and behaviour has been inferred, but not contextually interpreted in a process-oriented analysis of performance. Purpose: Through an insider action-research (AR) design, and adopting a mix-methods approach, this study aimed to: (i) investigate in-depth the influence of a constructivist-ecological pedagogical intervention on developing players’ TK and TB; (ii) explore effects of integrated tactical knowledge and behaviour on competitive performance. Participants and settings: Fifteen female volleyballers participated in this study. An insider-AR (first author assumed the dual role of coach and researcher) was conducted from September 2017 to June 2018. In total, four AR-cycles were completed. A mixed-method approach was used to obtain distinct, but complementary, data on the impact of a constructivist-ecological pedagogical intervention on development of players’ TK and TB. Qualitative data were used to explore the development of TK, while TB was analysed through quantitative methods. Data collection: Qualitative data on the coach’s perceptions were collected using a reflexive diary and field notes, while players’ perceptions were recorded through four semi-structured focus-group interviews, one per AR-cycle. Quantitative data from four official competitive matches, one per AR-cycle, were analysed. Players’ positional coordinates were used to calculate the synchronisation tendencies of lateral blocking and defensive lines through the cluster-phase method. Data analysis: Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis, in which inductive procedures deepened understanding of the development of the players’ TK. A 4 (matches) x 1 (court direction) repeated-measures ANOVA was used to analyse quantitatively the differences in the mean cluster-amplitude values of lateral blocking and defensive lines between matches. Main findings: The unique integration of constructivist and ecological principles scaffolded the development of players’ TK and TB. Players evolved from an initial stage in which they verbally described competitive game scenarios (using knowledge about environment), to an endpoint where they revealed superior tactical understanding and action intentionality. Increments in tactical complexity favoured the development of TK and TB in a long-term analysis. However, over the short-term, TB was reduced. The development of players’ TK (supported by interactions yielding knowledge of practice and performance environments) shaped a basis for the acquisition of co-adaptive TB during competitive performance. Practical implications: First, sport practitioners could benefit from combining strategies from different theoretical approaches so that they can satisfy the daily needs of athletes in practice. Second, we advise coaches to adopt didactical and representative learning designs, grounded on video analysis and the co-creation of game-plans. Third, the data imply that time and the continuous exposure of players to meaningful and representative practice tasks in learning environments are needed so that athletes can enrich their tactical behaviours, using knowledge of the performance environment to interact effectively its constraints.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological dynamics; constructivism; process-oriented vision; mix-methods; volleyball; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2022 15:39
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2023 01:18

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