Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Exploring sport coaching and psychology

3 The anatomy of a world record

The evening sunshine of Gothenburg, Sweden, in August 1995, was the setting in which British athlete, Jonathan Edwards, broke the world record in the triple jump. The record still stands at the time of writing (February 2017). In the next activity, you’ll get some insight into Jonathan’s circumstances in the build-up to his world record that night, which will help you explore sporting success further.

Activity 2 A giant leap for mankind?

Allow about 20 minutes

Read the short article The other giant leap for mankind: how this athlete set a world record that’s still standing 20 years later [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Identify the components of Jonathan Edwards’ success. Note down 6–10 words or phrases from the article that suggest these components. Can you group any of them together into different categories e.g. those related to physical or other categories?

Discussion

Some of the main words and phrases are shown in Figure 1. The size or colour of the words has no particular significance other than there are a range of components.

Described image
Figure 1 Some of the main words and phrases used in the article.

Your challenge was to begin to make sense of these and you may have identified three main categories in the article:

Category Contributing words and phrases
Mental Resilience, coping with pressure, sports psychology, supreme confidence
Physical Conditioning, rest and recovery
Childhood Where you grow up, rich mix of different sports

In addition to this, while there are no direct references to coaching: the ‘craft of athlete improvement’ and ‘jumping technique’ are obviously both integral parts of a coach’s work.

The ‘facile nature–nurture debate’ was mentioned at the end of the piece. This alludes to nature–nurture being an oversimplification of a complex topic. Richard Dawkins calls this ‘the dichotomous mind’ – the human tendency to divide up complex ideas into simple either–or positions. Both personality and diet are often presented in this manner, as introvert against extrovert and low-fat diets against high-fat diets, respectively. This reduction of complex arguments also makes it easier for the media to present to a mass audience. In reality, things are never that clear cut, with a range of aspects interacting, especially in sport, coaching and psychology.

Next, you will hear from some sporting champions.

ESS_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus