Undergraduate perspectives on the epistemological chain in adventure sports coaching

Lynsey Melhuish, George Ryan

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    This article considers the epistemological chain in adventure sports coaching through personal experiences of undergraduate adventure students using semi-structured interviews and qualitative thematic analysis. Findings showed many observable practices utilised by adventure sport coaches were epistemologically sophisticated. This included personalising sessions, reflective practice, nurturing relationships and demonstrating adaptive expertise towards risk/challenge. Autonomy aiding behaviours were observed, allowing participants freedom where there was little recognition of a hierarchy between coach/participant. However, a dichotomy was revealed where naïve epistemological approaches were taken when safety and environmental factors were prioritised and when delivering a national government body curriculum. Outcomes indicate that coaches who deliver lower-level adventure sports provision demonstrate an autonomy supporting culture which utilises sophisticated epistemological approaches, creating confident and independent minded participants. However, this autonomy is influenced by participant competence, logistical factors such as a prescriptive curriculum, time limitations and the dynamic external environment, unique to adventure sports.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022


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