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The use of video-based feedback in elite sport: an ethnography of practice

Britton, Ian (2018) The use of video-based feedback in elite sport: an ethnography of practice. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The use of video-based performance analysis has increased within multidisciplinary sports science support teams, but there remains a lack of research to underpin pedagogical practices. This thesis adopted an 18-month interpretive ethnographic approach, as part of a longitudinal case study with an elite Paralympic team, to better understand how video-based feedback sessions are delivered by coaches and interpreted by athletes. Data for this study was collected by using participant observations to explore the behaviours and interactions that occurred before, during and after video-based feedback sessions. Following an initial period of participant observation, interviews were conducted with the Head Coach (Greg) and Assistant Coach (Barry) to understand the aim of the video-based feedback work with the team (2.5 hours). Additionally, multiple video-based feedback sessions were audio recorded (20 hours) from training sessions and competitions prior to the Rio Paralympics. During the Games, pre- and post-match team briefings were audio recorded (6.5 hours), and afterwards, debriefing sessions and preparation for future competitions (6.5 hours) were also audio recorded. Following the Paralympics, Greg and Barry, five athletes and the Sports Psychologist (Sam) shared their thoughts and feelings within in-depth, one-to-one interviews regarding the use of video-based feedback (12 hours). This data, along with detailed field notes, were then subjected to a narrative analysis to identify key patterns and characteristics. The narratives were analysed drawing upon concepts from Goffman’s (1959) interactionist understanding of the presentation of self in everyday life, as a novel theoretical lens to understand the preparation undertaken for video-based feedback sessions. Findings revealed that the coaching team prepare for their ‘frontstage’ performances in a ‘backstage’ environment and they work together in a ‘performance team’ which keep ‘secrets’ from others. However, the ‘frontstage’ performance does not always go according to plan because individuals can adopt ‘discrepant roles’ that are not compatible with the ‘image’ they are trying to portray. Consequently, this thesis has contributed to the understanding of video-based feedback sessions by adopting novel methodological and theoretical approaches and further develops the existing performance analysis and sports coaching literature.

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