Working Inside the Black Box: Refinement of Pre-Existing Skills

Carson, H.J. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3785-606X (2014) Working Inside the Black Box: Refinement of Pre-Existing Skills. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis aimed to address and inform the gap in current sport psychology/coaching research, knowledge and practice related to the implementation of technical refinement in already learnt, well-established and self-paced skills. This was achieved through a series of studies conducted within golf. Accordingly, Chapter 2 revealed technical refinement as neither systematic nor consistent within and between European Tour players and coaches and high-level amateurs. Building on this need, the systematic Five-A Model was derived from the literature (Chapter 3), targeting outcomes of permanency and pressure resistance. Following, motor control (Chapter 4) and kinematic (Chapter 5) measures, technological methods from which these data could be obtained (Chapter 6) and appropriate training environments and task characteristics (Chapter 7) were determined, aimed at enabling informative tracking of progress through the Five-A Model in applied golf coaching environments. Having developed these ranges of measures and methods, Chapter 8 presented three longitudinal case studies aimed at implementing and tracking progress through stages of the Five-A Model. Results revealed outcomes with different levels of success in facilitating technical refinement, based primarily on psycho-behavioural limitations that were also found in Chapter 2. Therefore, as a final check on measures proposed, Chapter 9 confirmed previous suggestions by tracking six performers making short-term technical refinements within a single training session. Finally, Chapter 10 summarised the findings and implications of this thesis. Particular emphasis was directed towards the impact of psycho-behavioural skills in determining the success when attempting refinements, the further development of informative measures to track progress and inform coaches decision making and the wider implications of this research within clinical and rehabilitation settings.

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