University of Limerick
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Decision-making in professional sporting environments: An International survey of experienced performance support staff perspectives

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posted on 2024-02-28, 09:31 authored by PJ Wilson, Gregory Roe, John KielyJohn Kiely

Background Decision-making is a critical component of performance support staff responsibilities, yet research exploring staff perceptions relating to key facets of decision-making is lacking. Objectives The objectives of this study were to explore perceptions of performance support staff relating to; the importance of decision-making in their role, the value of team decision-making, strategies to enhance decision-making skills, monitoring the process and outcome of decisions, and the obstacles to good decision-making within their working contexts. Methods A mixed-methods approached was used to explore perceptions of decision-making in 191 performance support staff (male = 179, female = 12) working in professional (n = 147) or international (n = 44) sport. Results Performance support staff reported decision-making as extremely important to their role; however only 31% had received formal decision-making education and revealed a lack of people development and a lack of skills and education within their organisations. Most support staff conveyed that team decision-making is a valuable endeavour and augments decision outcomes; yet articulated ineffective teamwork as an obstacle to good decision-making in their environments. Largely, performance support staff reported an absence of organisational strategy and processes and procedures for tracking and making decisions respectively, while only 22% had a consistent reviewing and updating process. When making decisions, performance support staff faced several different cognitive biases and were challenged by the pressure and the time sensitive nature of their environments. Conclusion Performance support staff recognised the importance of decision-making in their roles; yet also identified many obstacles to effective decision-making. The perspectives documented here suggest that performance support staff would likely benefit from undertaking evidence-based training and implementing scientifically informed strategies to enhance decision-making processes within their organisations.



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