Category: Player and Coach Development

The use of a systematic observation method in coaching research

The use of systematic observation to identify coaches’ behaviour has continued to receive substantial research interest and has undoubtedly provided important insights that have added to the body of sports coaching knowledge (Cushion, 2013).

The purpose of this paper was to review studies that had used a systematic observation method to investigate coaching behaviour, and to consider the extent to which this area of research has developed between 1997-2016.

Twenty-six studies on the use of a systematic observation method in coaching were identified.

For each study, the following categories were coded: a) sports, b) countries, c) coaching context, d) systema- tic observation instrument, e) additional methods, f) number of total observations per coach, g) observation frequencies across studies, h) method of recording, i) reliability procedure.

The papers were then discussed  in 4 broader themes: 1) instrument development and technology; 2) coder training, reliability, procedural issues; 3) research questions and paradigm shift; 4) research context.

This review showed that while systematic observation continues to advance knowledge and understanding of what coaches do, there are many areas that require further research attention. Researchers should look to using a more critical approach when adopting a systematic observation method. This includes researchers offering a clearer rationale for the systematic observation instrument being employed, considering the number of observations for each coach and reflecting on the use of a multiple, mixed- methods approach.

Full paper:

Cope, E., Partington, M., & Harvey, S. (2017). A review of the use of a systematic observation method in coaching research between 1997 and 2016. Journal of sports sciences, 35(20), 2042-2050.

The Top 15 Rugby Researchers, Journals and Institutions in World

In February 2015, we posted an article “Research in Rugby growing exponentially-Rugby Research’s Top 15” Based on a Scopus search ( at the time (February 2015), we illustrated the growth of rugby research and the top rugby researchers and rugby research institutions. Here is the 3-year update (April 2018).

The Search

Before we get into the results, these are the search terms we entered into Scopus. For those unfamiliar with Scopus, it’s a database of peer-reviewed published research. Like any search database, you in type in a search term and it retrieves all the relevant data.

Below are our search terms: –

“Rugby” (will include rugby union, rugby league, rugby, etc)

“Rugby Union” (only rugby union)

My research interest is the tackle in rugby, so I also searched for: –

“Rugby” AND “Tackle”

“Rugby Union” AND “Tackle”

Only research with the above terms in the title, abstract or keywords were retrieved. The search includes all subject areas.

We report the number of articles by year, the top 15 rugby researchers, the top 15 rugby publishing journals, and the top 15 rugby research institutions.

Articles by year for “Rugby”

5031 articles on “rugby” since 1847.

3150 (63%) articles produced in the last 10 years. Average of 315 articles a year. 1338 published since the 2015 post.

Top 15 “Rugby” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby Union”

1157 “Rugby Union”articles.

864 (75%) over the last 10 years. That’s an average of 86 articles a year. 391 published articles since 2015.

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby” AND “Tackle”

 262 articles on “Rugby” AND “Tackle”. 195 (74%) produced in the last 10 years.

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle”


Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Institutions

Let us know your thoughts, drop us a tweet or comment below.

Sharief Hendricks