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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Observational accuracy in sport Miller, Gary N.


While numerous studies exist in the literature which have examined the accuracy of eyewitnesses to criminal events, very little research exists in the sport science field that examines the observational accuracy of coaches. The experiment reported here attempted to address this issue using the sport of soccer and soccer coaches. Thirty-six soccer coaches served as subjects in this observational accuracy study viewing videotaped segments of international soccer games. The coaches were randomly selected for one experimental group and two control groups. All three groups watched the same fifteen minute pretest videotape and answered a questionnaire relating to the recall of the goals scored, shots taken and missed opportunities to shoot. The experimental group was trained to observe the critical events of match play. They used a training videotape containing excerpts of 7 professional soccer games. Instances of critical elements of match play were illustrated in a progressive manner using the videotape as an orienting activity with specific priming instructions. Control group one watched the same videotaped instances but only answered the questionnaire they received in the pretest. Control group two also watched the same videotaped excerpts as the other two groups but were asked to prepare a training sessions that they would use based upon their observations of the videotaped games. All three groups then completed the same posttest watching the same game segment with the identical number of goals, shots and missed shooting opportunities as the pretest videotape. The dependent variable was the percentage of correct responses that each subject displayed when answering questions about these three critical events. Results indicated that, on the average, coaches seem to be incapable of remembering more than 40% of information that pertains to how goals are scored. Their recall of events that lead to shots and missed shooting opportunities was no better than 20% correct. An analysis of variance was performed on the data and it was found that subjects were better able to recall events during the posttest than during the pretest. The training program on directed observation resulted in better recall for the experimental group than the two control groups. A Scheffe post hoc analysis revealed that all subjects recalled the events leading to the scoring of goals more accurately than they recalled the events leading to shots and missed shooting opportunities.

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