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Title: An exploration of how the discourse within educational neuroscience might inform developmental understanding of decision making in the context of elite academy football
Author: Walter, Perry James
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the potential for applying a 'Mind Brain and Education' (MBE) perspective in a football-coaching context, specifically through focusing on the application of neuroscience in the area of decision-making. It presents a series of interrelated research studies undertaken at a professional foot ball academy and the English Football Association (FA). The thesis combined different perspectives (social, psychological and neuroscientific) and drew on methods from both quantitative and qualitative research traditions. An initial quasi-experimental study explored decision-making across different age ranges and findings were indicative of a developmental discontinuity in risk-based decision-making, with a particular sensitivity for mid-adolescents. To help gain experiential insight on this issue, qualitative studies were then undertaken with a small group of mid-adolescent players. Self-confrontation interviews helped build a picture of the sporting contexts associated with 'risky' decision-making during match play. These findings prompted broader investigation into the culture within which such insights might find application. A qualitative study was undertaken, exploring academy coaches' current constructions around cognitive neuroscience and its potential integration into football pedagogy. This prompted further inquiry at the national level of the FA, exploring perspectives for integrating an MBE perspective into national education programmes. Insights from academy and national coaches were indicative of a broad enthusiasm for the integration of an MBE perspective in football education. The present period, involving structural and policy changes, particularly for youth football, was felt to represent a potentially fertile climate to introduce insights drawn from MBE into football. At the same time it was recognised that unique challenges exist in translating and communicating neuroscience concepts to a football audience, a task which may benefit from greater dialogue between the institutions involved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available