The Role of Situational Awareness in the Professional Judgement and Decision-Making of Adventure Sport Coaches
Loel Collins 1,2 and Dave Collins 1,2
Coaching has been described, in part, as a decision-making process dependent on the coach’s comprehension of the situational demands present in a coaching session. This is even more apparent in the hyperdynamic challenge of adventure sports coaching. Adventure sport coaches decide on and then deploy an optimum blend of coaching strategies to meet the demands of performer and context in an “it depends” approach. Through the lens of decision-making, research has shown that refining coaches’ comprehension of the situational demands benefits and enhances both process and outcome. To date, however, limited attention has been paid to the development of tools that facilitate better understanding of these demands. Accordingly, this paper examines how coaches’ descriptions of situations differ depending on their level of situational awareness. We present findings from a quantitative questionnaire and thematic analysis of transcribed descriptions, given by the coaches, of events encountered while coaching adventure sports. Coaches with different levels of experience and situational awareness describe situations differently, leading to a differentially more or less accurate conceptualization of a challenge they encountered. The implication is that encouragement of rich, deep descriptions of events may lead an adventure sport coach to develop greater comprehension of situational demands.