I wrote the original summary and reflection to consolidate my own learning and subsequently to develop a deeper understanding of possible negative effects of reflective practice (RP).
Cushion (2016) suggests that RP may reinforce current behaviours, perspectives and beliefs rather than encouraging practitioners to challenge them. The author describes RP as individual surveillance that normalises current thinking and confirms beliefs rather than challenging them.
In a practical sense (and assuming the spotlight of RP is focussed on coach behaviour), RP requires a coach to examine his behaviour before, during and after a session. Assuming the coach doesn’t problematise his behaviour at any point in the session, Cushion (2016) believes the act of examining and explaining his behaviour will reinforce the behaviour. Consequently, a coach is recommended to question and problematise their practical delivery.
This argument assumes that perspective reinforcement is detrimental to the development of coaching practice. However, coaching practice in my own personal perspective should aim for consistency and attention to detail. Coaching should be as planned and methodical as the dynamical nature of it allows. A coach should control as many controllable factors as possible and have clear ways of dealing with the unexpected. My own personal coaching approach therefore accommodates perspective reinforcement as a means of achieving consistency in behaviours I identify as important to success. Subsequently, RP can be argued to be problematic in situations where areas of poor performance are reinforced. However, RP in this case may actually lead the practitioner to begin connecting their behaviour with outcomes e.g. athlete behaviour, conflict, athlete not engaging etc. This may naturally lead the coach to experiment with change rather than reinforcing poor behaviours.
The argument that RP may reinforce current beliefs may be advantageous when the spotlight of RP is focused on positive and effective coaching behaviours. This may lead to consistency and added value towards effective coaching behaviour. Future research should investigate the possible negative reinforcing effects of RP on coaching behaviour.
Although Cushion (2016) draws attention to a very important area of consideration, deeper analysis has drawn attention to possible benefits of perspective reinforcement. Consequently, it would be advantageous to test this hypothesis in order to substantiate these claims.