What is Reflective Practice?

In short, reflective practice are mental thoughts through which individuals revisit and learn from their own experiences. The individuals explore their own experiences of learning through a questioning approach in order to better understand how they learn and therefore improve in the future.

It is also important in terms of self-awareness. Those players / athletes that are more self-aware have been shown to display more effective arousal control, have improved self- confidence and are more successful when it comes to setting goals and achieving them.

Reflective practice also allows an individual to learn from their mistakes, instead of dwelling on them. They can evaluate and address the reasons for the negative experience, and then find ways of overcoming it. This often leads to the player developing greater independence, resolving issues themselves, without the need of a coach intervention.

Methods / Tools for Reflective Practice

  • Coach feedback
  • Video analysis
  • Talking (alone or in a group)
  • Writing (alone or in a group)
  • Observing (alone or together as a team)
  • Reflective journals
  • Reflective sheets – similar to a reflective journal but with some questions to guide reflection.

Models of Reflective Practice

Gibbs Model (1998)

This is a six-stage model with plenty of probing questions.

Step 1 – Description – What happened?

Step 2 – Feelings – What were you thinking and feeling?

Step 3 – Evaluation – What was good and what was bad about the experience?

Step 4 – Analysis – What sense can you make from the situation?

Step 5 – Conclusion – What else could you have done?

Step 6 – Action Plan – If the situation arose again, what would you do?

ERA Cycle (Jasper, 2013)

This model contains three simple stages.

The action that is taken, will depend on the individual. The action will lead to another experience and so then the cycle will continue.

Driscoll’s What Model (2007)

This model has been adapted from the questions Borton asked in 1970.

What happened?

What are the implications of this?

What shall I do now?

It is important to note that there may not be any changes that need to be made, if we think that we are doing everything as we should.

Benefits and Limitations of Reflective Models

Offer a structure to be followedImplies that there are steps that must be followed.
Provide a starting point to the reflectionYou may not always start at the beginning.
Allows an individual to assess all level of the situation.You may not be able to apply some models in some situations.
 Reflective practice is continuous process so it can never really end.

These are all very similar and aim to get the same answers and reflections from an individual. It is recommended that you try different methods of reflection and see which one you prefer. It can also be beneficial to vary which model you use in order to get the most out of the reflective practice.

Useful Resources

Gibbs Model of Reflection – https://youtu.be/ZXKBc7kqQ7A?si=ZbnS1OA2UHVONrS-

Driscoll’s Model – https://youtu.be/JStPDcGioo0?si=kgyRkVf3xzlvP3r3

Link to Blog Post Feedback – https://forms.office.com/r/FEjVpi61Vr



Borton, T. (1970) Reach, Touch and Teach. London: Hutchinson.

Driscoll, J. (ed.) (2007) Practicing Clinical Supervision: A Reflective Approach for Healthcare Professionals. Edinburgh: Elsevier.

Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods (Oxford, FE Unit Oxford Polytechnic).

Jasper, M. (2013). Beginning Reflective Practice. Andover: Cengage Learning.

Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.