Coaches and Guidance.

Coaches of all sports use many different guidance methods. The two methods that are relevant to this investigation are visual guidance and verbal guidance although there are also other methods used by coaches. Within these two categories are also many different ways of using each method to teach skills to performers.

This topic of the effectiveness of different guidance methods is particularly relevant to me as an under 13s Hockey coach and I am interested in how I might be able to teach skills more effectively.

To provide a focus for the study the following null hypothesis will be tested:

  • There will be no significant difference between the performance of a reverse stick hit dependent on whether the performers received visual and verbal guidance or just verbal guidance.

To evaluate the skills and whether they have been learnt/improved upon, qualitative analysis will be used. This will include observing the performance of the skill before the guidance methods are used, then identifying any discrepancies between the expected and actual performance. The skills will then be observed after coaching has taken place and the discrepancies noted again.

To carry out the investigation the following steps will be used:

  • gather a group of U13 Hockey players of similar ability
  • randomly divide them into two even groups
  • observe the chosen skill being performed by each participant before any guidance is given and note any discrepancies in the skill
  • separate groups for coaching on the skill
  • group A will be taught the skill by using a visual demonstration and verbal guidance
  • group B will be taught the skill by using verbal guidance only and no visual demonstration
  • after an equal and sufficient time for practising the skills observe the participants performing them again and note any discrepancies
  • compare the average number of discrepancies per group to see if there is a significant difference between them
  • record any further observations e.g. performance of the skill in a competitive situation
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To research this area I will look at texts regarding skill acquisition and guidance as well as coaching manuals and previous research in this area.

Literature Review

“The learned ability to bring about pre-determined results with maximum certainty and minimum outlay of time, energy or both.”

This is a definition of skill as stated by Knapp (1963). In this definition he states “The learned ability” which means that in order for the learner to be able to perform the skill they must first be taught it by a coach and then practise it individually.


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