chapter  2
13 Pages


For over three decades a focus on reflection, or on becoming a reflective practitioner, has gained popularity in a wide range of contexts. These include education (Smyth 1991), graphic design (Poynor 1994), art (Roberts 2001), engineering (Adams et al. 2003), medicine (Middlethon & Aggleton 2001) and coaching (Gilbert & Trudel, 2001; Knowles et al. 2001). Practitioners are being encouraged to ‘stand back and reflect upon the construction and application of their professional knowledge’ (Hardy & Mawer 1999: 2). The surge of interest can largely be attributed to the work of Schön (1983), who discussed reflection in relation to architecture, town planning, engineering and management. Reflection is a term that has been described in multiple ways including: ‘turning a subject over in the mind and giving it serious and consecutive consideration’ (Dewey 1910: 3), to having ‘a capacity for autonomous professional self-development through systematic selfstudy’ (Stenhouse 1975: 144). Although useful in a general sense, there are negative consequences of having multiple interpretations of reflection, particularly in relation to it becoming a popular rallying call. This is because such ambiguity has the potential to lose the concept’s core meaning (Smyth 1991), while paradoxically, allowing reflection to be used in ‘an unreflected manner’ (Bengtsson 1995: 24). The primary purpose of this chapter

is to introduce the concept of reflection, and discuss how four interpretations of reflection have been utilized in the sports coaching context. In addition, the chapter also serves as a conceptual framework through which the concepts introduced in this book can be thought about and possibly integrated into personal practice.