Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Cognitive processes underpinning soccer coaches’ decision-making during competition

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posted on 2023-02-09, 10:46 authored by André Roca, Cláudio Gomes, Colm MurphyColm Murphy

 The ability of coaches to make effective decisions that can positively affect a team’s performance during competition is a fundamental skill in coaching, especially in fast, dynamic team sports such as soccer. Yet, there has been little research attention given to exploring the thought processes underpinning coaches’ decision-making during soccer match-play. We used a think aloud protocol analysis to explore the cognitions of skilled and less-skilled soccer coaches who were required to watch and coach a team during representative video clips of a soccer match first half. At the end of the first half of the match, coaches were also asked to verbalize their thoughts of what they would do or say to the team at halftime. We further assessed the quality of decisions made at half-time. During first-half match-play, skilled coaches verbalized more thoughts related to performance and tactical evaluations, and the planning of actions than less-skilled coaches, who mostly monitored the ongoing game actions or events. Moreover, during half-time, skilled coaches, more than less-skilled participants, made more appropriate decisions which were underpinned by more relevant planning strategies aimed at improving team performance for the second half. Findings enhance our understanding of cognitive expertise in coaches’ decision-making performance during competition. 


Published in

Journal of Expertise


Michigan State University


  • VoR (Version of Record)


Roca, A., Gomes, C., & Murphy, C. P. (2022) 'Cognitive Processes Underpinning Soccer Coaches’ Decision-Making During Competition', Journal of Expertise/December, 5(4).

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Authors

Colm Murphy

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Sport and Performance Psychology

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  • © The Authors


  • en

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