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Title: Coaching elite kickers for optimum performance
Authors: Alred, David
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: © David Alred
Abstract: This thesis reports a multi-factorial approach to coaching elite (expert) kickers. There are 3 empirical studies, and a report on the development of a coaching system. In addition, five key areas are explored in the literature review, including expertise, strategies for performing under extreme pressure, mental rehearsal, (visualization) and self talk, investigations on the value of pre-shot routines and the similarities with professional tournament golf and dead ball kicking. Study 1 investigated out which Mental Keys were believed by the players to be the most effective in improving technique and consistency both out of hand and at goal. lt was concluded that: i) players focus on a specific aspect of their technique when kicking a ball, ii) players focus on different parts of the process or focus on the same process, but have different descriptions for these, iii) the most frequently used keys were instructional rather than visual, iv) there does not appear to be any single correct way to coach experts to improve their consistency. Study 2 investigated the perceptions of experts concerning the perfect kick, their depth of understanding of mechanics or principles of kicking, and the thoughts and routines of experts when performing under pressure. lt was concluded that i) all players know when they have hit the ball perfectly, and recognise the ball behaviour as a result of the strike, ii) very few players have an understanding of basic principles or mechanics of kicking, iii) all players have a pre kick routine and focus on a spot on the ball for goal kicking and the ball for punting out of hand, iv) many of the players reported that they use some form of visualisation just prior to impact. However, as confirmed in study 1, the majority of experts focus on an instructional based key which is based on a specific part of their technique. A coaching system was developed, based on the results of the two studies. Specifically, the foundation of the system was based on the knowledge that expert kickers know when they hit the ball perfectly, and to kick under pressure players consciously focus on process based keys. However, very few have an appreciation of basic mechanics or principles. Study 3 was an evaluation of the coaching system based on players' and coaches' quantifying the players' change in performance based on distance, accuracy, consistency and confidence in where the ball is going. lt was confirmed that the coaching system developed for experts, which is based on ball behaviour, allows players to perform more effectively. This was confirmed using a group of elite soccer and rugby players.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/10209
Appears in Collections:Closed Access PhD theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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