Assessing knowledge and ability
In earlier editions of this text, we made the claim that assessment in sports coaching had not been a ‘hot topic’. The evidence lay in an annotated bibliography (Gilbert 2002), which showed that up until that point, only four per cent of articles focused on assessment. Over a decade later, the situation seems to have changed little, as witnessed by the absence of any related discussion in the Routledge Handbook of Sports Coaching (Potrac et al. 2013). This lack of engagement by the research community is surprising given the interest in ‘sport analytics’ (see International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport) and the use of more authentic and comprehensive measures to assess players. In an attempt to address what they considered a ‘significant oversight that both fails to recognize key aspects of pedagogy and learning, and overlooks opportunities for optimizing coach and athlete development’, Hay et al. (2012) explored the potential of assessment efficacy in sports coaching. This became a focus for debate (for details see International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 7, 2012). The aim of this chapter is to use a sociocultural perspective to highlight the complexities associated with assessment, and to discuss what this could mean for coaches’ practice. The chapter begins with an introduction to a sociocultural perspective on assessment, discussing its principal aspects, before making links between assessment and ability.