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Coaching Philosophy

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James Smith

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Coaches, let's say you construct and coach practices based upon an understanding of how best to improve competition results. The question, however, is what is your understanding; and more importantly, what is your epistemology?
 
Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and it is central towards your perception, in general, of the world and reality. It underpins what you see from your athletes and how you make sense of what you see.
 
No matter how talented and hard working your athletes are, It is insufficient to conceptualize coaching based solely upon a knowledge of the laws/rules of the sport, the varied tactical approaches to out execute the competition, and a surface level appreciation/understanding of culture, psychology, and technical development.
 
It is critical that you take seriously your epistemology and whether or not it would serve you, your organization, your athletes, your family... to modify or change it. Clearly, you must first identify what it is.
 
Are you an Empiricist, who equates knowledge with experience?
 
Are you an Idealist, who thinks knowledge is innate?
 
Are you a Constructivist, who thinks knowledge is a product of human constructions- distinct from unbiased discoveries of objective truth?
 
Are you a Pragmatist, who selects a reference for determining what is true based upon its practical applicability in the world?
 
Are you a Fallibilist, who refutes the idea that one can have a good reason for a belief?
 
Are you a Critical Rationalist, who thinks all knowledge is conjectural and can only be created through conjecture and refutation?
 
These are only some examples of philosophies/epistemologies and how integral their significance is with respect to how you perceive and think about the world, and more specifically, sport, your staff, your coaches, your athletes, your families...and how to improve the results of competition, cultural establishment, tactical understanding and execution, technical skill, psychological preparation, well-being, professional competency, and life outside and beyond sport.
 
The discussion of subject matter such as this often renders the question- can you recommend any books that address this subject matter as it regards sport and coaching?
 
 
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