Action Sports in Transition: Optimizing Performance

Willmott, Thomas Oliver (2017) Action Sports in Transition: Optimizing Performance. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis Document]
PDF (Thesis Document) - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



Within the past two decades, the snowboard and freeski disciplines of halfpipe, slopestyle and big air (collectively Park & Pipe) have progressed dramatically in objective performance levels while transitioning into Olympic sports. This thesis investigates the nature and impact of this transition, with a focus on athlete performance and coaching. A general overview of the sport from a biopsychosocial perspective is followed by a more specific investigation into skill acquisition and the role of the coach in Park and Pipe as an action sport. A retrospective analysis of trick progression amongst eight elite performers at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is complemented by interviews with ten current elite Park and Pipe coaches and an athlete survey to achieve triangulated perspectives exploring approaches to training and associated coaching methods. The inherent risk of injury in action sports is considered throughout, along with approaches to managing this risk at an athlete, coach and systemic level. A suite of both formal and informal tools is presented including the application and use of professional judgment and decision making (PJDM, Collins & Collins, 2014).
This thesis provides insight for the action sports athlete, coach, high performance support team and management, exploring theory and application, examining change, success, failure, and providing a number of solutions to the optimal performance challenge. By establishing what current Park and Pipe best coaching practice looks like and comparing this to athlete preference, this research provides a picture of where the sport is currently at, proposes direction for the future, and highlights potential transfer to other action sports. Specific areas of focus and contribution to existing knowledge include sport progression modelling, holistic long-term athlete development, the use of motor imagery in skill acquisition, risk management, decision-making, and the periodisation of risk.

Repository Staff Only: item control page