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The analysis of athletic performance: some practical and philosophical considerations

Nelson, Lee J. and Groom, Ryan (2011) The analysis of athletic performance: some practical and philosophical considerations. education and society, 17 (5). 687-701.. ISSN 1470-1243

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This article presents a hypothetical dialogue between a notational analyst (NA) recently schooled in the positivistic assessment of athletic performance, an ‘old-school’ traditional coach (TC) who favours subjective analysis, and a pragmatic educator (PE). The conversation opens with NA and TC debating the respective value of quantitative and qualitative methods of performance analysis. Having considered their arguments from a-distance, PE offers a philosophically underpinned point of view that helps to practically reconcile NA's and TC's opposing positions. While primarily focusing on practical issues relating to the analysis of athletic performance, PE contends that ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ approaches can be legitimately used in combination. Such a stance would appear in-line with a pragmatic philosophical perspective, which by focusing on practical issues embraces pluralistic methods. It is hoped that this dialogue will facilitate further philosophical and practical debate to generate knowledge that could enrich coaches' understanding by presenting an approach to performance analysis that is more realistic for practitioners.

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