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Exploring the reflective practice of a multidisciplinary team within an elite English football academy.

Mills, G., 2023. Exploring the reflective practice of a multidisciplinary team within an elite English football academy. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Reflective practice is defined as the process of learning through and from experience towards gaining new insights of self and/or practice (Boud et al., 1985). It has become an essential characteristic of professional competence and, as such, has been identified as a vital aspect of coach education. Nevertheless, reflections on coach education programmes are often carried out in rational environments; decontextualised learning environments which fail to replicate the often-complex nature of the day-to- day experiences of coaches in the field. It has been suggested that whilst coaches may think they are reflecting, often they are confused between what reflection is and other mental processes (e.g., pondering, scrutinising, and ruminating). Research on reflective practice has yet to articulate ‘how’ it is implemented or experienced by coaches, and in what ways do clubs initiate, sustain, nurture and influence this process through reflective activities within the real-world context. Using Moon’s (1999) Model of Reflection, this research intends to explore how reflective practice is being perceived and applied within an elite English football academy setting. Specifically, it aims to investigate how key staff, working as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT), interpret and implement The FA’s Plan-Do-Review model. Furthermore, how do academies mobilise reflective practice according to the values and unique cultural environment of the Club under the auspices of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). Twelve members of an Academy Management Team (AMT) underwent a semi- structured interview to examine the relationship between reflective practice and workplace culture. A semi-structured interview guide was used to aid the researcher to gain a better insight into the participants’ perspective of reflective practice. Themes identified were organised into a hierarchical thematic structure. Initial results expose common pitfalls around the transfer of reflective skills learned through educational programmes and their application to real-world settings. Findings indicate that 1) There is a disconnect between the understanding and learning of reflective practice through coach education courses and its application within the real world. 2) Reflective practice should be nurtured and developed through strong networks and interprofessional collaboration, utilising communities of practice and mentoring relationships both in and outside the work environment. 3) The different disciplines working within an MDT will engage in reflection to varying depths and levels. Rather than viewing reflection on a hierarchical scale, the level and method of reflection should be determined by the individual, their experiences, and the context. Not all incidents require in-depth reflections, but support should be provided to practitioners to enable them to effectively assess how and when to move between different depths of reflection as appropriate. This work will impact upon the existing practices of football academies, enabling them to utilise reflective practice more effectively. For instance, a greater understanding of individual difference is recommended to help practitioners explore their decisions and experiences through appropriate strategies, thereby increasing their understanding and management of themselves, their practice, and ultimately the players within their care. This has implications for future coach education content.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:reflection; reflective practice; critical thinking; multidisciplinary team (MTD); soccer; football; academy; youth; elite; The F.A.; Premier League; mentoring; communities of practice; academy management team (AMT);coach education; critical incident analysis; organisational culture; adaptive expertise
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:38250
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:13 Feb 2023 16:26
Last Modified:13 Feb 2023 16:26


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