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A critical appraisal of current feedback strategies employed within professional football

Page, T (2022) A critical appraisal of current feedback strategies employed within professional football. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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In professional football, coaches must provide their players with feedback to improve their technical, tactical, physical and psychological skills. Furthermore, many professional clubs employ performance staff to collect, analyse and feedback data. However, it is not currently well understood how feedback of this performance data is transferred between coaches, performance staff and players. Therefore, the aim of the present thesis was to explore current feedback practices, establish it’s perceived effectiveness and evaluate an integrated feedback intervention.

Within Chapter Three, a consecutive two-phase approach was adopted, an online survey (n = 139) in Phase 1, which subsequently informed the development of a semistructured interview guide within Phase 2 (n = 30). Findings from Phase 1 indicated a high volume of feedback was delivered frequently and in a range of formats. In particular, a high proportion (>89%) of feedback was informal in nature through regular conversations between key stakeholders. Thematic analysis of interview data in Phase 2 indicated four interacting general dimensions were involved in the feedback process: ‘communication in the professional football environment’, ‘purpose of feedback (the why?)’, ‘delivery of feedback (the how?)’, and ‘content of feedback (the what?)’.

Having identified the frequency and nature of current feedback practices, Chapter Four employed a mixed methods study (surveys alongside interviews) to explore the perceived effectiveness of these practices (n = 15). Survey data from all groups indicated that informal feedback was effective for influencing coaching practice or player behaviour. Additionally, four themes were constructed; understanding the individual (n = 15), feedback climate (n = 14), optimising feedback delivery (n = 15) and areas for improvement (n = 14). Effective feedback may rely on making sure an individualised approach is adopted and that careful consideration is given to the environment (culture/context) in which it occurs.

Key stakeholder recommendations from Chapter Four informed the design of a novel feedback intervention in Chapter Five. The intervention was implemented as a fourweek pilot study to explore the acceptability and feasibility of an integrated feedback intervention within a professional football club. A RM-ANOVA revealed significant improvements in some markers related to perceived effectiveness; informal chats,
reports on a computer screen and attitudes towards feedback; constructive comments.

Interview data revealed that the increased frequency of individualised feedback helped to improve clarity and satisfied the need for more visual feedback. As such, the delivery of integrated feedback interventions may be feasible within professional football.

Future evaluations of the effectiveness of feedback interventions should use integrated metrics as objective markers of performance and/or behaviour change.

In summary, the work undertaken in this thesis has provided the first quantitative and qualitative analysis triangulating key stakeholder perceptions of current feedback practices, and its effectiveness. The findings suggest that a number of factors influence feedback delivery, such as the purpose of feedback, the environmental factors and the individual receiving the feedback. Taken together, these findings allow for the construction of a conceptual and practical model of feedback delivery which may be used to inform future practice of stakeholders involved with feedback delivery and reception. Future studies should look to address the link between feedback interventions and markers of performance and/or behaviour change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: feedback; professional football; perceptions; communication
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports > GV711 Coaching
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 08:55
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2022 13:16
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00017036
Supervisors: Andrew, M, Knowles, Z, Drust, B and Green, M
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17036
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