Life Skill Development in Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities: The Strategies and Learning Pathways of Special Olympics Coaches

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Title: Life Skill Development in Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities: The Strategies and Learning Pathways of Special Olympics Coaches
Authors: Cybulski, Sarah
Date: 2014
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to explore how experienced Special Olympics (SO) coaches attempt to integrate the development of life skills into their coaching practice and how the coaches learned these strategies. Merriam’s (2009) basic interpretive qualitative approach was used to guide this research. Six experienced coaches from Ontario participated in this study. Data were collected through two sets of semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, and document analysis. Data were analyzed both deductively and inductively using thematic analysis. Camiré, Trudel, and Forneris’s (2012) study on how high school coaches help athletes to develop life skills was used as a framework for life skill development strategies. The analysis uncovered that coaches use the following strategies: (a) having a coaching philosophy aimed at helping athletes to develop, (b) understanding athletes’ pre-existing makeup, (c) providing athletes with opportunities to show their skills, (d) modeling, (e) taking teachable moments, (f) using keywords, and (g) and volunteerism. Two inductive strategies were also found: (a) building strong coach-athlete relationships and (b) being stern and direct with athletes. Trudel, Culver, and Werthner’s 2013 chapter on coach learning was used to frame the learning pathways section of this study. Results from this portion of the study indicate that coaches learned through a variety of different means, including their experiences and through mediated and unmediated learning situations. As one of the first studies to explore the coach’s role in assisting Special Olympics athletes to develop life skills, we feel that this study makes a valuable contribution to the literature on coaching science, sport for people with disabilities, and athlete development. This study also highlights new areas for research that could further expand our knowledge of this topic.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31791
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6681
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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