Analysis of sport science perceptions and research needs among South African coaches
Background: There appears to be a gap between coaches’ expectations concerning their needs and the focus of research findings published by sport scientists. Given the important role of sport science in enhancing athletic performance, closing the gap between sport scientists and coaches is expedient.
Objectives: To investigate the sport science perceptions and research needs among South African coaches.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey design, a total of 202 (28 male and 174 female) purposively recruited South African coaches completed a validated questionnaire.
Results: Findings indicated that “Improving the technique/efficiency of athletes” (4.33±0.79), “Reducing the incidence of injury/illness in athletes” (4.33±0.76), “Helping athletes peak for competition” (4.31±0.86), and “Mental preparation of athletes” (4.26±0.97) were reported as the most preferred areas of research by coaches. The coaches also reported that “There is a need/role for sport science researchers to translate scientific literature into easily understandable language” (3.93±1.03) and “Sport science knowledge is important for me to be a good coach” (3.90±0.98).
Conclusion: These findings have practical implications for sport federations regarding the need to revise their coach education programmes to include sport science concepts which can be applied by coaches to improve sport performance.
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