How does athletes' self-regulated learning in practice progress over a competitive sport season? A case study


Self-regulated learning (SRL) involves athletes' awareness and control of thoughts, actions, and motivations in pursuit of practice goals (Zimmerman, 2006). Athletes can use SRL processes (e.g., planning, reflecting) to optimize their engagement in practice, and higher-skilled athletes have consistently reported greater use of these processes during sport practice (e.g., Bartulovic et al., 2017; McCardle et al., 2019; Wilson et al., 2021). Past work has only considered cross-sectional associations, making it unclear how SRL processes develop and transition over time. The purpose of this case study was to assess longitudinal progression in self-reported SRL among adolescent athletes. A team of cross-country skiers completed the Self-Regulation in Sport Practice (SRSP; Wilson et al., 2021) survey once per week, after practice, for 12 consecutive weeks of their on-snow season. Six athletes (14.18-16.80 years; 4 female, 2 male) responded on 50%+ of weeks. We used a quantitative case study approach, plotting individual progressions of the five SRSP subscales and calculating descriptive statistics of variation and linear progression for each athlete/subscale. SRSP scores progressed dynamically over the season. Differences in the rates of change and variation between SRSP subscales suggest varying degrees of stability, while differences between individuals suggest overall profiles of SRSP competency and sensitivity. Acute spikes/drops in SRSP scores across individuals suggest the potential influence of team activities on learning competencies. We discuss implications of these patterns for how practitioners might develop narratives to optimize training habits, and how considering time and variability in assessment can improve interpretations of SRL in sport practice.

Acknowledgments: This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada awarded to B.Y., S.H., and J.B. (#435-2018-1481).