“The Best or the Rest”: An exploration of UK Rugby Union coaches’ team selection decisions

Fiander, Matthew Francis (2019) “The Best or the Rest”: An exploration of UK Rugby Union coaches’ team selection decisions. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Coaches play a crucial yet complex role in sport, including selecting players for games - a key decision many coaches regularly make. Despite this, little is known about why or how coaches make team selection decisions. The purpose of this thesis, therefore, is to investigate rugby union coaches’ team selection decisions, with specific reference to the cues (pieces of information) they use.

Chapter 1 provides the context and rationale for this thesis. Chapter 2 comprises a systematic review which reveals the only study that has investigated coaches’ team selection decisions directly (by asking coaches), and the 15 studies that examined the differences between selected and non-selected players after selection had occurred. Given the small number of studies found in the systematic review, Chapter 3 contains a narrative literature review which summarises the cues that could influence coaches’ judgements and decisions made on their athletes while viewing them. Through a longitudinal interview study, Chapter 4 portrays the large number of diverse cues six rugby union coaches reported using to make team selection decisions and how this information changed dramatically from pre-season to post-season interviews. In Chapter 5, a case study of five rugby union coaches working within the same coaching team revealed the breadth and variety of the cues the coaches reportedly used to make team selection decisions, the processes these coaches went through (“the best or the rest” selection strategy), and how the power relationships among the coaching team impacted their selection decisions. This study also found through visual and audio observations of the head coach that most selection cues were only stated in one training session, suggesting an absence of a clear, long-term selection strategy. Chapter 6 provides coaches with a practical overview of the key results of this thesis and the implications for their coaching practices. Finally, Chapter 7 concludes this thesis by summarising the key findings and making several future recommendations for researchers and coaches.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 26872
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 07:57
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:04
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26872

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