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UK Coaching Team
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Talent and Performance Self-care and development

Reflecting on Your Practice: Considerations for Coaches

Insight into types of reflection and building a framework for effective reflection, developed in partnership with Robin Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching and an active talent pathway coach

Reflection can be described as "the process of internally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning" (Boyd & Fales, 1983). Reflective processes can heighten our sense of self-awareness and encourage us to recognise our adaptive (such as the ability to provide differentiated guidance to our athletes) and maladaptive (such as over-reliance on a single coaching approach) behaviours as an individual coach. 

Building this self-awareness encourages us to become more open to new ideas and other ways of thinking, which in turn can lead to improved actions within our coaching context.

Types of reflection

There is broad agreement that reflection takes place in-action and on-action. As such, the following three types of reflection (outlined by Gilbert & Trudel, 2001) provide us with a range of approaches to reflection that consider processes and outcomes.

Reflection-in-action 

This type of reflection occurs in the middle of an activity (for example, when your athletes are engaging with you or an activity).

Key points:

  • It includes thinking about what you are doing, while you are doing it. This allows you to focus on specific activities and/or interactions.
  • It is often stimulated by surprise (such as by spotting a problem or poor performance).
  • It takes place where your actions can still make a difference to the specific situation.
  • It includes consider processes (such as type of activity/interaction) and outcomes (such as individual/team response) and if these are effective or need adapting in-action.

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