South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Elite coaches' perceptions of the characteristics of decision-making that discriminate between expert and novice basketball players

Philemon A. Lyoka, Elizabeth S. Bressan


This study was aimed at discovering what elite coaches perceive to be the critical characteristics of decision-making that distinguish expert players from novices in basketball. A qualitative method of inquiry (the long interview) was followed. The data were gathered during interviews with five elite coaches. A framework to define decision-making was created through a systematic analysis of the data by two investigators with substantial background in top-level basketball. The key discriminating variables as defined by the elite coaches were: Anticipation (experts know where to look and have the ability to read the game better than novices); cognitive knowledge (experts have a more comprehensive knowledge of the rules and of tactics), self-knowledge (experts have more accurate sense of their own abilities) and the quality of memory processes (experts make decisions faster than novices and show more adaptability in their decision-making). The results of this research confirm expert-novice differences in anticipation and quality of memory processes found in other studies of decision-making in sport. The results also underscore the importance of knowledge structures - declarative, procedural and personal - in the development of expertise in sport performance.

(S. African J. for Research in Sport, Physical Ed. and Recreation: 2003 25 (1): 59-70)

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