Developing Sport Expertise: Researchers and Coaches Put Theory into Practice, second edition, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Developing Sport Expertise

Researchers and Coaches Put Theory into Practice, second edition, 1st Edition

Edited by Damian Farrow, Joe Baker, Clare MacMahon


274 pages

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Paperback: 9780415525244
pub: 2013-06-07
Hardback: 9780415525237
pub: 2013-06-07
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203119914
pub: 2013-06-26
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The development of an athlete from basic performance to elite level of accomplishment is a long and complicated process. Identifying and nurturing talent, developing and fine tuning sport skills, and maintaining high levels of performance over the course of a career requires many thousands of hours of training and, increasingly, the input and support of expert coaches and sport scientists.

In this fully revised and updated new edition of the leading student and researcher overview of the development of sports expertise, a team of world-class sport scientists and professional coaches examine the fundamental science of skill acquisition and explore the methods by which science can be applied in the real-world context of sport performance. This book surveys the very latest research in skill acquisition, provides a comprehensive and accessible review of core theory and key concepts and includes an innovative ‘Coaches Corner’ feature in each chapter, in which leading coaches offer insights from elite sport and critique contemporary practice in sport skill development.

With new chapters offering more material on key topics such as instruction and observation and expert visual perception, the second edition of Developing Sport Expertise is invaluable reading for all researchers and students in the areas of expertise in sport, skill acquisition, motor control and development, sport psychology, or coaching theory and practice.


‘…Tying these real life experiences and coaching practices to theoretical framings and research of sport expertise is perhaps one of the biggest strengths of the book in terms of bridging the gap between theory and practice, between scientist and coach, within the multifaceted field of sport expertise…

…this is a book worth taking your time to read. It presents both interesting and relevant theoretical frameworks and current research, as well as connecting these to the practical world of coaches in sport.’

Anne Tjønndal (2015), Closing the gap between theoretical research and practice in sports coaching at

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Developing Expertise in Sport – Enhancing the Coach-Scientist Relationship - Damian Farrow, Joseph Baker and Clare MacMahon Section 1 Expert Systems 2 Outliers, Talent Codes and Myths: Play and Practice in Developing the Expert Athlete - Joseph Baker and Steve Cobley Coach’s Corner: Eddie Jones – Head Coach, Japanese Rugby Union Team 3 How Good Are We At Predicting Athletes’ Futures? - Jörg Schorer and Marije Elferink-Gemser Coach’s Corner: John Keogh – Senior Women’s Coach, Rowing Canada Aviron 4 Functional Sport Expertise Systems - Jason Gulbin and Juanita Weissensteiner Coach’s Corner: Trish Heberle - Hockey Australia and Adam Sachs - Gymnastics Australia Section 2 Expert Officials and Coaches 5 The Sports Official in Research and Practice - Henning Plessner and Clare MacMahon Coach’s Corner: Ralf Brand - Basketball Referee in Germany’s First League. 6 Developing the Expert Performance Coach - Jean Côté, Karl Erickson and Pat Duffy Coach’s Corner: Patrick Hunt - Applied Technical Advancement Coach – Australian Institute of Sport Section 3 Contemporary Coaching Approaches 7 Observation as an Instructional Method - Nicola J. Hodges and Diane Ste-Marie Coach’s Corner: Hernán E. Humaña – Former Canadian Olympic Beach Volleyball Coach 8 Organizing Practice: Effective Practice Is More than Just Reps - Jae T. Patterson and Timothy D. Lee Coach’s Corner: Gary Bernard - Chief Executive Officer, PGA of Canada 9 Practising Implicit (Motor) Learning - Rich Masters Coach’s Corner: Tom Willmott - Head Coach New Zealand’s "Winter Performance Park & Pipe Programme" Section 4 Expert Athlete Processes 10 'Choking' In Sport: Research and Implications - Robin Jackson, Sian L. Beilock and Noel P. Kinrade Coach’s Corner: Scott Draper 11 Expert Visual Perception: Why Having a Quiet Eye Matters in Sport - Derek Panchuk and Joan N. Vickers Coach’s Corner: Hayley Wickenheiser – Canadian Women’s (Ice) Hockey Team Member 12 The Recipe for Expert Decision Making - Damian Farrow and Markus Raab Coach’s Corner: Neil Craig – Director of Football Performance, Melbourne Football Club 13 Developing Tactics: Advances in Cognitive Psychology and Technology - Stuart Morgan and Sue L. McPherson Coach’s Corner: Norma Plummer – Head Coach West Coast Fever Netball Team Section 5 Expert Commentary 14 Research –Informed Practice…Are We Nearly There Yet? - Bruce Abernethy 15 There Is No Easy Route to Expertise - Geert Savelsbergh

About the Editors


Damian Farrow holds a joint appointment with Victoria University, Australia, and the Australian Institute of Sport as a Professor of Sports Science. His extensive research activity is designed to support Australian coaches seeking to understand factors critical to developing sport expertise, particularly perceptual-cognitive skill and practice methodology.

Joseph Baker is with the Lifespan Health and Performance Laboratory at York University, Canada. Joe is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and four previous books. His research considers the influences on optimal human development, ranging from issues affecting youth development to barriers and facilitators of successful aging.

Clare MacMahon is discipline leader of Sport Science and head of Motor Learning and Skilled Performance in Health Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on cognitive aspects of movement skills, including learning and retaining complex perceptual-cognitive skills such as sport decision making.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Sports Medicine
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sports Psychology