To coaching sessions with, therefore, understanding and integrating this

To demonstrate the understanding and comprehension of the cognitive development curriculum, the area of decision-making will be presented to establish a good level of understanding. To emphasise one’s understanding of the decision-making curriculum, the concept will be applied through an analysis into the decision-making process in recreational child sports coaching.

The theories of decision making in will be critically appraised for its validity and consistency with some regards to sporting examples, the theory will also be queried as the paradigms shifts through the literature. This area of cognitive psychology was chosen due the complexity of the decision-making process and the benefits it could enhance future coaching sessions with, therefore, understanding and integrating this process into a coaching module would help to cultivate efficient learners and better-informed coaches.

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From the literature researched presented, the essay should outline how expert decision making is cultivated, furthermore, how to accelerate desired decision making in 5-7 year olds footballers.

From a neural perspective, (Gold & Shadlen, 2007) define a decision as a conscious deliberative process which symbolises a commitment to a particular proposition, this understanding is emphasised on using the example of judge who must weigh a complexity of evidences before reaching a consolidated verdict.

Doya & Shadlen (2012) more recently also emphasise some uniformity in the definition of decision making, suggesting that any cognitive task which can be perceived as a decision requires deliberation and commitment.

The study by (Gold and Shadlen 2007) however does attempt to finely depict several concepts of the decision-making process, with signal detection theory (SDT) and sequential analysis (SA) identified as key themes of the study.

SDT theory is described as a versatile framework which incorporates prior evidence and values to arrive at a desired outcome. Contrastingly, SA is expressed as an organic extension to SDT, which relies on the accruement of several evidence over time.

The definition of both theories is relatively complex; however, the upcoming literature will be used to illustrate how these theories can either be successfully associated to expert decision making in sport or alternatively be contradicted.

For the purpose of understanding the holistic process of decision-making it is important to draw some attention to the proposed concept of value, (Gold & Shadlen, 2007) express value as a subjective element which plays a fundamental role in the decision-making process.

The highly subjective nature of value is reported to be influenced by feedback or a seek for external or internal gratification. Moreover, the effect of value is also reported in the study by (Doya & Shadlen, 2012), explaining the relationship between mesolimbic dopamine system for reactive decisions and an orbitofrontal system for cognitive decisions, as this study was undertaken on rodents, the validity and ethical application proposes difficulty. Nevertheless, Takahashi (2012) informs that the themes of risk-seeking and dopamine and loss-aversion and norepinephrine are highly fundamental themes to gaining a better understanding of the decision-making process, therefore potentially methods of accelerating the decision-making process.


Considering the reported effects of the channelled decision-making process above, it would appear that importance of a decision is based on the value attached to the decision. Therefore, an increase in autonomous valuation should result in better retention of desired decision-making. From this brief introduction, there resides much consideration for the interplay between neurobiology, environment, personnel and cognitive functions.


Having outlined what is meant by decision making and the conceptual framework, the essay will now move on to focus more on expert decision-making in sports and the reported process to achieve this desired state of higher cognitive function.


The study by (Baker, et al., 2003) in an examination of sporting experts established that aspects such as exceptional perceptual skills, spatial and temporal recognition, superior knowledge of tactics and timing of executions are dispositions of a superior decision-maker (expert). Contextually, questions could be proposed about the expectations of expert performance from 7-year old’s, however, this essay is aimed at understanding and accelerating the decision-making process, in hope of translating this new understanding to accelerated levels of expertise in recreational sport.

Nevertheless, the optimism of speeding up the decision-making process is contested by the literature of (Simon & Chase, 1973) who historically proposed the minimum of 10 years of deliberate practice to reach the desired level of expertise, this concept is also closely related to (Ericsson, et al., 1993) theory of the 10,000 hour rule required to function as an expert.

This ideology aligns well with the theory of (Gold & Shadlen, 2007) which aligns error and timescale for expert decision making, however, this essay is based upon attempting to accelerate errors within a limited period. 

Interestingly, a study by (Miall, 2013) investigated the repetitive behaviour of monkeys over a period time, consequently proposing the participating monkeys after months and years of practice were able to perform these internally driven actions without strong external inputs. Nevertheless, the study failed to incorporate individual’s elements such as values and internal motivation theories, the study does however align effortlessly well with the studies of (Doya & Shadlen, 2012) and (Gold & Shadlen, 2007), which signposts consistent errors over time to be well associated with desired decision-making skills.  (Thomas & Thomas , 1994) decisively proposes that decision-making in team games is heavily dependent of self-efficacy and confidence in others, to acquire this synchronisation in practice, the argument of errors and time-related practice is well positioned for accelerating decision-making abilities.


Having established a basis for skill acquisition and expert decision-making in sports, the following section of this will investigate issues that may affect the decision-making process, the quality of decision-making development activity and value-based decision making. From this section, aspects such as community of learning and the influence of cultural differences will be explored to examine the role they play in enhancing the decision-making process.