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Craft coaching and the ‘discerning eye’ of the coach

Day, Dave (2011) Craft coaching and the ‘discerning eye’ of the coach. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 6 (1). 179 -196. ISSN 1747-9541

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Abstract

When Victorian and Edwardian coaches used the term ‘science’ they were generally referring to technique or to systematic training regimes, and traditional coaching practices, derived from experience, observations and intuition, maintained credibility long after physiologists began investigating sport. Scientists testing athletes at the 1928 Olympics concluded that all aspects of training should become subject to scientific scrutiny and British academics became increasingly involved as the values of amateurism gave way to a greater pragmatism with respect to international competition, resulting in physiologists assuming responsibility for traditional aspects of coaching practice. This article utilises two areas in which physiology has embedded itself into the coaching milieu, talent identification and the prevention of overtraining, to demonstrate that these issues had long been familiar territory to Victorian and Edwardian coaches and to suggest that the contribution of similar experienced and innovative coaches, utilising both explicit scientific and implicit craft knowledge, needs to be sustained in an age of scientific rationalism.

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