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Deciding who is the best: Validity issues in selections and judgements in elite sport
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about selection processes and processes of measuring and judging athletes in competitions in top-level sport. The purpose was to increase the knowledge of these processes and to analyse them from a validity perspective in order to contribute to the discussion of whether the “right” athletes are selected to participate in teams, competitions and games and whether the “right” athletes win. The rule and judging systems were investigated in the judged sports acroski and rhythmic gymnastics. Information was gathered through individual interviews with two judges, two coaches, and four elite athletes from each of the sports, and in addition to this the respective sport’s rule systems, judging manuals, meeting protocols and historical documents were studied. Selections to top-level sport teams were investigated by individual interviews with 14 top-level coaches (selectors) from the national league in soccer and a national team and from national teams in alpine skiing. The results from the judging study showed that both studied sports had undergone major changes in their rule and judging regulations, changes that had a considerable impact on the sports and the judgements. The level of definition of the rules and regulations was raised to increase the opportunities for clear and reliable judgements, but this became problematic for the overall validity of the judgements. The reason for this was that the new rules and regulations did not clearly correspond to the original idea of the sport, since the specified and detailed regulations lead to less originality and freedom in the performances. In the selection study, the results pointed to great differences in how precisely defined the selection criteria were among the teams. The selectors stated that well-defined selection criteria or grounds could be helpful in many ways, but they also emphasised how important it was for them that some parts of the selections were based on their subjective valuations of the athletes. Quite a few coaches from both sports argued that they would choose an athlete with good behaviour and favourable personality over an athlete with better sports skills, if they had an opportunity to do that depending on the selection system that was used. Overall, this research displays how validity issues connected to the selection and judging criteria and these processes might affect the outcome of the processes. It is notable that high reliability is in the main focus of the measuring and judging processes, while considerably vaguer and more subjective assessments are considered important in the selection process. The thesis points to the importance of discussing and understanding the consequences of rules, rule changes, selection and judging criteria as well as how these processes are performed, if the desired outcomes and consequences of the selection and judging processes are to be reached.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet , 2010. , 112 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 95
Keyword [en]
selections in sports, predictions of sport performance, assessment of sport performance, consequences of selections, judgement, judging, measurements, sport, validity, reliability, acroski, alpine skiing, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33942ISBN: 978-91-7264-979-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33942DiVA: diva2:318861
Public defence
2010-06-04, Humanisthuset hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-14 Created: 2010-05-11 Last updated: 2010-05-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Är det alltid rätt person som vinner?: bedömningarnas reliabilitet och validitet inom bedömningssporterna acroski och rytmisk gymnastik
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Är det alltid rätt person som vinner?: bedömningarnas reliabilitet och validitet inom bedömningssporterna acroski och rytmisk gymnastik
2001 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Did the right person win? In competitive sports the difference between winning and loosing can be very marginal but still the result will have a big impact. To finish second, even if it is an Olympic Game, can be felt like a failure for the athlete. In the light of this the quality of the measurements and the judgements in sports are an extremely important issue. In this dissertation, consisting of two separate reports and one summary report, the freestyle discipline, acroski, and the gymnastic discipline, rhythmic gymnastics (RG) where studied with a focus on the rules and judgements in the sports. The reliability and validity of the rule and judging systems were analysed together with changes in the rule and judging systems. The reliability, as the judges ability to interpret the rules and judge in a consistent way, and validity in the sense that the judgements, and the rules for the judgements, where in accordance with the idea of the sport. Information was gathered from rulebooks, judging manuals, meeting protocols, and historical documents. For information on how the rules and judgements where perceived among people involved in the two sports, interviews where carried out with two coaches, two judges and four athletes from each of the sports. In the summary report the results from the two reports where discussed and a comparison of the rule systems and judgements was made together with a discussion about reliability and validity problems in sports measured by time, length and height. The results showed that the rule and judging systems in acroski and RG in a short time have gone through major changes to increase the reliability and validity in the judgements. The quick evolution of these sports seems to be the main reason for these changes but also other factors where of vital importance. Finding the balance between making the judgements as objective as possible, without loosing the idea of the sport, together with the quick evolution of the sports, seemed to be the main challenges in the rule and judging systems of acroski and RG.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 2001. 91 p.
Series
Licentiatavhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen: Umeå universitet, ISSN 0283-9997
Keyword
judgement, judging, measurements, sport, validity, reliability
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-15969 (URN)91-7305-110-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2001-10-19, Humanisthuset, Hörsal G, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-08-07 Created: 2007-08-07 Last updated: 2010-05-26Bibliographically approved
2. Selections to top-level sport teams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Selections to top-level sport teams
2010 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the study was to increase the knowledge of selections of athletes to top-level sport teams. Selections in alpine skiing and soccer were investigated and modern validity theory was used as the theoretical framework. Key issues concerned the goals and criteria involved in the selection processes, how the processes were performed and notions from the selectors (coaches) about the outcomes and consequences of the selections. The study was based on 14 semi-structured interviews with top-level coaches (selectors) highly involved in the selection processes in the individual sport of alpine skiing (national teams) and in the team sport of soccer (club teams/national team). The results show great differences in the definitions of the selection criteria among the teams. The selection criteria ranged from very well-defined to very vague. This has implications for the validity of the selections with regard to both what is really used as the grounds for the selections and how stable those grounds are. Some of the coaches were convinced that clearly defined criteria are a necessity for good selections, while others were not. There were some disparities between the club and federation boards and the coaches as regards both the level and the types of goals and ideas for the selections. From a validity standpoint this is problematic, as there might then be different kinds of goals that the selection method has to be adapted to. The selection decisions were mostly a result of the coaches’ discussions with each other. In some teams this was a fairly subjective process, and in other teams ranking lists played an important role in the decisions. Quite a few coaches from both sports said that they would choose an athlete with good behaviour and favourable personality over an athlete with better sports skills, if the system allowed for such alternatives. All coaches emphasised the importance of the selection criteria being formulated in such a way that they gave the coaches opportunities to influence the judgements themselves. All coaches stated that their eyes and their feelings were their most valuable selection tool. When it comes to the outcome and the consequences of the selections, the importance of the selections was experienced as very important To be selected to a national team in skiing was by some coaches described as a career-changing event, whereas the soccer coaches described the selections in soccer to be very important although not crucial for the athletes’ career. For the coaches it was said to be of utmost importance to select a successful team, as they otherwise could lose both their job and their respect. Most of the skiing coaches thought they selected the “right” skier, even if the athletes did not always achieve the expected results, while all the soccer coaches thought that they sometimes had selected the “wrong” player. Overall the results show that there are validity issues to be considered in the selection processes. It was also shown that many of the coaches regard the selection process as rather difficult and the evaluation of the process as challenging. The fact the coaches do not have any education concerning selections and how to deal with factors affecting the selections means that they have to figure out strategies for dealing with these complex situations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, 2010. 118 p.
Series
Pedagogiska rapporter från Pedagogiska institutionen, ISSN 1403-6169 ; 83
Keyword
selections in sports, predictions of sport performance, assessment of sport performance, consequences of selections
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33904 (URN)978-91-7459-019-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2010-05-10 Created: 2010-05-10 Last updated: 2010-05-11Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Annika

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