Reflection Paper

Due: May 7, 2015 (turn-in at final exam)

Grade: 50 point comprehension assignment

Goal: To show me how you have evolved over the course of a semester.

To meet the goal of this assignment, you have the freedom to write what you think is necessary.  However, I have found that some students in the past have struggled to begin reflective or open-ended assignments.  If you struggle to begin this assignment, you might start by responding to one of the following prompts.

  • Tell me about a part of the course that challenged your beliefs about coaching.
  • Tell me about how a part of the course reinforced some (or most) of your beliefs about coaching and sport.
  • Tell me about how your beliefs have not evolved much as a result of this course.
  • Tell me about how this course did not help you understand more about the field of coaching.
  • Tell me about how you view the profession of coaching differently.

Although this paper is open-ended, I ask that you please follow these conventions:

  • Length: 1-2 pages, printed, double-spaced (no need to submit through D2L, just bring a paper copy to the final exam)
  • Name: You may put your name on your paper, OR leave your name off.  This is your choice.  Please recognize that simply excluding your name does not make the assignment completely anonymous, especially if you discuss a specific exchange or event from class that you were involved in.  Take that into account.
  • Grading: I will assess credit for completing this assignment; I will not be grading it for its content.



Gender & Sport Coaching

Links for class:

Psychology of Coaching Intro

This comes from our course introduction to the psychology of coaching.

Cognitive & Psychosocial Development

For our class activity of a structured controversy, consider the following information in favor and against youth sport specialization.

For Specialization:

  • Specialization allows players to spend more time developing the sport specific skills they will need to achieve high levels of performance in sport. This is typically advocated by scientists and coaches who believe in the model of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve athletic expertise. For example, swimming coaches who advocate for this model argue that swimmers can only develop world-class mechanics if they develop and practice these mechanics exclusively and don’t play other sports.
  • Recent life skills research (Camire et al., 2011) has shown that players who specialize tend to develop stronger relationships with their coaches. Strong relationships enable coaches to teach life skills, but also sport skills, much more efficiently, because a trusting relationship exists through the increased number of hours that coaches and players spend with each other.

Against Specialization:

  • Specialization leads to burnout through several mechanisms: (a) players lose interest because their sport skill often reaches a plateau; (b) players make an “opportunity cost” evaluation of their sport involvement and conclude that being so involved in one sport has cost them opportunities to get involved in other sports or other activities
  • Athletes who specialize early typically play on teams that are focused on winning, which typically involves learning a “system” (like a specific offense in basketball) and cuts down on opportunities for individual players to experiment with their own creativity
  • Specialization robs athletes of the opportunity to become proficient in a wide variety of movement experiences, leading them to be highly skilled in one set of motor skills, but under-skilled in movement patters that they don’t use.

By no means should these be the only “knowledge” you use to structure your opinion. My guess is that you all have unique sport experiences of your own, and you can draw on them throughout our “debate.”

Growth, Development, & Sport

Behavior Management

Managing athlete behavior is more than simply reacting to poor behavior and handing out punishment. It involves setting expectations and determining your philosophy towards managing athlete behavior – sometimes referred to as shaping or changing the culture of a team.


For class #8, we are going to learn about communication.  First off, we will review the principles of strategic communication – such as when you are giving instructions, corrections, or directions during a practice.  Then, we will talk about “quiet communication,” one of the overlooked parts of coaching that can make a big difference in team performance, through building the coach-athlete relationship.

Motor Learning

The following lecture will provide some basic information on the science behind motor learning, as well as some basics of practice design.

Critical Questions

Reflective Practice & Ethical Decisions – Class 3

Goal for today’s class:

  • Practice and discuss decision-making processes that are essential skills for coaches.  Skills must be practiced!

Part I – Reflective Practice


  • You coach a collegiate women’s team that has a team of male players that can be used as a scout/advance team (e.g., Volleyball, Basketball).  Your bench players do not see much practice time with the starters during practice; the male scout players get most of the time.  Your female starters are having some injury problems due to over-training.  The bench players have been showing low morale and have not performed well in the few minutes of game time that they have gotten.


  • Get into a group with no more than 4 total students.  Find other students that you have not worked with yet.  Introduce yourselves so you know everyone’s names.
  • One member of the group will need to turn in a completed worksheet for credit (10 point comprehension assignment).  You will get your copy back on Monday.  You must be in class to get credit (this cannot be completed outside of class).
  • Using the worksheets provided, respond individually to point #1 of reflective practice (framing your role), then point #2 (setting the problem).
  • Now, discuss the problem with your group members to increase the number of perspectives on the problem.  Before moving forward, be sure that you have agreed on what the problem is!
  • With regard to point #3 (knowledge creation & specialized solutions), what potential solutions could be employed?  What solutions might have been tried in the past?
  • Finally, respond to point #4 – “think it through.”  Be critical and contingency plan.  How could this plan fail?
  • Put all group members’ names on one copy and turn in before leaving class.


Part II – Ethical Decision-Making Framework (Ten Steps)

Link to the Prezi (narrated video available on D2L)

Ethical Scenario (in-class):

  • You coach a high-profile team (any sport) that is scrutinized in the media or the local community… meaning that your decisions are criticized by important people.
  • You have a talented player on your team that is a valuable member of the squad.  You have just been informed that this player has engaged in some form of discriminatory behavior online towards a teammate.
  • For now, only a few members of the team know about it, and a trusted player/leader on your team has brought the issue to your attention.  It could be construed as hate speech, but no physical form of violence has occurred.


  • Using the ethical decision-making framework described in the Prezi above (you can also watch a narrated video of this presentation on our Desire2Learn course page), walk through the deliberate process of making an ethical decision.
  • Respond to each of the ten points of the ethical decision-making framework by writing what you would DO (e.g., what evidence you would need to consider, or who would you need to speak with, what potential do you need to compare).