Myths of Sport Coaching, edited by Amy Whitehead & Jenny Coe, presents a fascinating review of some of the most fervently believed myths sport coaching.
The contributors, who use published research to explain why the various myths lack foundation, and, in many cases, go on to suggest alternative approaches, again backed by research.
It is, perhaps, unfair to pick favourites, but for me the most interesting included:
- The Science of Fun in Sport: Fact over Fiction — Amanda Visek & Anna Feiler
- “Fun” is about so much more than having a lark!
- Communities of Practice: Common Misconceptions — Diane M Culver, Tiago Duarte & Don Vinson
- Especially resonant, perhaps, given the paucity of “community” amongst cricket coaches online.
- The Evolving Role of the Sport Psychologist and the Myth That Their Role is to ‘Fix’ Athletes — Laura Swettenham, Kristin McGinty-Minister & Stewart Bicker
- This highlights the importance of the psychological element in performance — it is way too central to leave it out until there is a problem!
There are also thoughtful contributions on Deliberate Practice (the myth being that 10,000 hours of Deliberate Practice is required to acquire “expertise”), early specialisation (there is now substantial evidence demonstrating that the costs for the vast majority of young people of specialising in sport too early outweights the gains), and fundamental movement solutions (a critique of the information-processing model as the pedagogical foundation for movement skill acquisition).
I was gratified to see that none of my current beliefs about what coaching is (should be) and how it works were de-bunked! But the authors’ approach would surely have gone a long way to convincing me of their case!