An explorative case study to consider the benefits of embodying movement conceptual awareness in elite pole vault training

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Abstract

Movement concepts make for a powerful means to introduce and develop motor competence of fundamental motor skills. As such their integration into how skills are introduced and scaffolded are afforded across early years and childhood physically educating settings. At the most proficient level of competence is to be found competitive athletes. For many, a traditional coaching approach to their practice remains. In efforts to develop a collective proficiency of knowledge through means which both deepen understanding and encourage greater athlete autonomy, a conceptual collaborative was set up for one pole vault group using a five-session weekly approach. The group dedicated one of these to conceptual collaborative work. This remained skill focused in terms of the actual skill of the pole vault run up, active plant, take off, inversion, turn and active release to landing yet adopted a conceptual frame to the teaching and learning. The current example shares that of the use of the concept of space between the top and lower hand as the common theme across floor, bench, high bar and vaulting practices. Attention is shifted to the shape of the space maintained in relation to hands and the pole itself across the phases of effort and force applied rather than the movement product. Findings revealed greater frequency of shared language across these sessions in comparison to those of their regular skill focused sessions 1-4. Reflection was integrated into practice when determined useful to them rather than through a linear sequence of execute-feedback-re-execute pathway utilised in other sessions. The process-oriented approach was found to be of benefit to this bespoke group as a part of their general practice. It is now a constant aspect of the group approach as the 5th of 5 weekly sessions to revisit any aspect of the skill sequence using concepts and open ideas for the next micro cycle and skill acquisition/refinement theme. The group (athletes and coaches) consider this strategy as complementary to existing practice and as such, more accessible than they had anticipated and without clash nor tension to existing practice. That stated a coaching shift across the teaching spectrum was observed and experienced through the add-on strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFifth Assembly of the International Motor Development Research Consortium
Subtitle of host publicationMoving Across Life Course: Research & Practice
PublisherInternational Motor Development Research Consortium, I-MDRC
ISBN (Electronic)https://www.i-mdrc.com/
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2021

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