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Athletic Coaching

A Communication Perspective


Gregory A. Cranmer

Each year, millions of youth athletes participate in organized sport under the guidance of a coach, who is entrusted with overseeing their development and performance, as well as providing a safe environment. A communicative approach to coaching recognizes that the skills, lessons, values, and experiences that athletes gain are determined by how coaches interact with athletes and structure their sporting environments. Athletic Coaching: A Communication Perspective provides a foundation for a communicative perspective of coaching in an effort to better understand and promote coach effectiveness. As part of this effort, this book conceptualizes coaching as a communicative endeavor, provides a framework from which to understand coaching effectiveness, and explicates four common perspectives (i.e., instructional, organizational, group, and interpersonal) utilized by communication scholars to examine coaching. Moreover, this book forwards a scholarly agenda for building a holistic framework of coaching and increasing the applied value of coach communication scholarship via methodological and theoretical considerations. Athletic Coaching is of benefit to many audiences, including communication students and scholars who are developing their understanding of coaching literature, interdisciplinary scholars who seek a representation of a communicative perspective of coaching, and coaches who may use this text as a self-reflective tool for pedagogical refinement.

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Chapter 7: Setting a Scholarly Agenda: Building Toward a Holistic Framework


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All coaching is, is taking a player where he [sic] can’t take himself.—Bill McCartney1

Historically, knowledge within coaching science (Gilbert, 2002; Gilbert & Trudel, 2004; Potrac, Denison, & Gilbert, 2013) and sport communication (Abeza, O’Reilly, & Nadeau, 2014; Kassing et al., 2004; Wenner, 2015) has been generated through assessments and constructive critiques of empirical research. It is through such reflection, synthesis, and criticism that pathways for advancement become apparent and the tools that produce knowledge are refined. The initial two chapters of this text created a foundation for a communicative approach to coaching. These chapters established coaching as a social process within which effectiveness is dependent on the strategic exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages. The next four chapters built upon this foundation and detailed distinct perspectives utilized by coach communication scholars (i.e., instructional, organizational, group, and interpersonal perspectives). The chapters on these perspectives established and organized the conceptualization, history, and state of coach communication research for ← 125 | 126 → readers. Together, these six chapters offer a fundamental understanding from which to outline a scholarly agenda.

A continual theme across each of these chapters was the tremendous potential of coach communication research to inform a range of applied and scholarly communities. Despite nearly two decades of research, Kassing et al.’s (2004) assessment of the unmet and seemingly unlimited potential of communicative approaches to coaching is still quite suitable....

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