Examining Factors Influencing the Participation and Self-Management of U.S. Collegiate Women's Rowing Coaches in Professional Development Experiences
Lopez, Sara Lynn
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This study examines the factors that influence the participation and self-management of U.S. intercollegiate athletic coaches in professional development experiences. The qualitative study is guided by theoretical considerations about self-directed adult learning as well as emerging concepts regarding the preparation of coaches for an increasingly complex and dynamic environment. The research uses grounded theory methodology to examine data from semi-structured interviews with 18 intercollegiate women's rowing coaches in Washington and Oregon. The major findings of the study are: (1) the coaching field lacks a defined career pathway, clearly-articulated professional competencies and rigorous professional development programs; (2) coaches are self-directed learners who manage their participation in learning opportunities to develop their professional competencies with little direct feedback or evaluation; (3) coaches expect to develop competencies through learning-by-doing, value in situ experiences, and depend to a great extent on informal learning experiences; (4) coaches at all collegiate levels and competition divisions describes criteria for successful job performance as a combination of positive student-athlete experiences and competitive success; and (5) an initial analysis of the mentor relationship dynamic reveals a tension between an education focus regarding the development of the apprentice coach's skill set and a performance focus prioritizing team performance results. As a result of this research, a new model emerged that highlights the centrality of the coach as a self-directed learner, closely integrates position competencies with learning experiences, and examines external influences on the individual's participation in professional development activities. The research also identified areas of congruence with the current findings regarding coaching education for international high-performance coaches. Implementation of the recommendations resulting from this research have the potential to create a culture of learning throughout the full spectrum of coaching positions that entails a great deal more than self-directed individuals pursuing training in relative isolation. In addition, these findings along with subsequent research provide the opportunity to shape the design and implementation of professional development programs that coaches and administrators view as essential for improving the quality and effectiveness of coaching in the U.S. collegiate setting.
- Education - Seattle