This chapter presents the diagnostic knowledge and skills of expert competitive swimming coaches. Sport studies on expert/novice differences in coaches have primarily focused on quantitative and descriptive characteristics of coaches and their skills. To clarify this, most studies have focused on the outcome of the results of coaching actions and have not investigated the knowledge base and structures which enabled the coach to obtain those results. An example is the study of the number, types, and intervals of feedback which a coach gives an athlete or team. The chapter discusses verbal reports obtained through interviews and clinical diagnosis of the competitive freestyle swimming stroke to elicit and identify the coach's diagnostic knowledge. Such a methodology has pioneered by scientists in cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence (Al), decision science, medicine, and sport. Research on the diagnostic knowledge base of expert coaches in the sport domain, however, is rather sparse and in the area of competitive swimming it is virtually nonexistent. The pragmatic need to understand competent coaching arises from two sources: first the efficiency for swimming is lower than any other sport and second, relatively few coaches attain expert diagnostic skills while the majority remain rather average, even after 10 or more years of coaching.
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