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Athlete to Coach Programme | Welcome and General

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Posted in: Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Athlete to Coach Programme

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  • RobChapman

    I've just read the article in Coaching Edge on UK Sports Athlete to Coach Programme where they take top retired athletes and turn them into Olpmypic Class Coaches.

    What I found interesting was the work done on soft skills, such as:

    • Recognising the impact of your behaviour on others,
    • Understanding how to manage yourself as a coach.
    • Maintaining effective relationships.
    • Coachinig skills such as giving and receiving feedback, getting your message across and questioning skills.
    • Reflective practice.

    It is good to see these skills being taught in something other than a coprorate environment, and not all companies do this, although the company I work at does some of this.

    I know that Reflective practice is touched upon as to how you review your sessions, but is it really taught in a useful and meaningful way for people to use successfully?

    What does everyone else thing about these skills being taught to coaches as part of their UKCC qualifications or as CPD, would it be worthwhile or is it something we are supposed to pick up on the job?

    Please let me know your thoughts.

  • I can only speak for my sport of figure skating ... and although an Olympic Sport these skills regarding managing people and yourself, effective commnunication and the implementation of reflection are hardly mentioned at all in the coaching pathway (Levels 1 & 2). 

    I think these are vital skills which all coaches need, although many are surely lacking a) because of the poor construction of the coaching progression pathway and b) unless your coach or mentor utilised them, then there will be no learning and development from experience. I also think that these skills are lacking in some people and cannot be learnt.

    What I also find interesting is the training of top athlete's and molding them into coaches ... sometimes the best athletes are not the best coaches and therefore possibly these resources may be better used elsewhere (just my opinion!).

  • RobChapman

    I agree Danielle, I think that if these skills were taught to L1 and L2 coaches, then we would be better prepared and possibly produce better athletes from grassroots clubs.

    Some people are more technically minded and others more people related, it would be nice to level the playing field and give coaches all the skills they need. Not just the technical knowledge on how to demonstrate and support a move, but also, the knowledge of how to get that information across to the athletes in a way they can understand so they retain it easily. This will hopefully progress athletes quicker and easier as they will understand what they need to do when they are in the correct physical condition. 

  • AMDThomas

    HI Rob, thanks for posing this topic for discussion. From my viewpoint, effective coaching is significantly dependant on the ‘softer skills’ by comparison with just providing technical information and delivering training sessions.

    In my role as a HE lecturer in Sports Coaching, it is these essential ‘soft skills’ that I spend a lot of time trying to develop with my students – with varying success.

    As Dannielle quite rightly points out, these skills are lacking in some people and some cannot be learnt but I do believe that an individual can develop what they have, providing the they are prepared to challenge themselves to develop them.

  • AndyP

    I think that these personal skills are every bit as important as technical knowledge. I'm deliberately not calling them 'soft skills' because they can be one of the hardest things to learn!

    I think the importance of these personal skills should be stressed from the outset of any coach education pathway, regardless of the future-coach's background. It's interesting it is brought up in the context of an athlete to coach program. The implication is that the technical knowledge is already there, which it often isn't. Do they have a good eye? Athletes may have succeeded as a result of being genetic freaks rather than especially strong technically. They may have done some things naturally which others have to learn. Were they good because of the coaching they received, or in spite of it? Some athletes make great coaches, some are terrible - I think it's 2 entirely different skill sets. But I digress...

    A few years ago I was chatting with a friend who coaches a number of international level athletes who told me his main focus that year wasn't on anything technical, but rather building the squad dynamic and focussing on his relationship with his athletes and their relationships with each other. They are doing brilliantly now - maybe it's just coincidence, but I take it as a sign that a holistic approach to coaching can be extremely useful in getting the best out of sportspeople.

  • pippaglen

    Good question, In the 8 years of coaching I have noticed a big difference in the way I coach and the way coaches that have been coaching 20+ years. 6 years ago when I decided to take my level 2 coach award myself and 10 other coaches were guniepigs for the new style athletics coach awards, asking questions,  getting feedback, what could we change to make session better, how could we do things differently.  Observation. This is now drilled into me and I do this at every session. Whoever for the more experienced coaches I don't hear or see this so how can you improve as a athlete or coach if you don't ask for feedback.  How as a athlete can you improve your performance.  

    Like I was talking about in my post before.  coaching my children,  how can I have an effective relationship coaching my own children. A hard one due to no other coaches available and I don't want to stop them from taking part. 

    Iv since learned that being professional you seem to get better behaviour,respect and performance from athletes.

    If athletes know what they are doing, why they doing,  giving good instructions and your asking for understanding you will also get better performance from athlete's. If athletes don't understand that's a different story altogether.  Maybe misbehaving take place, performance not great, injuries. I have seen this take place throughout schools due to children not understanding, teacher not asking for understanding not giving good instructions. 

  • LawrieOK

    This topic was raised in ano part of CC under the banner of what should be in the next Coaching Strategy as I recall. I posted then that this was a tragic oversight in every NGB coaching course I have ever attended.

    Allistair McCaw in his latest Tweet said "The more you coach the more you realize just how important your interpersonal skills are."

  • robertkmaaye
    On , said:

    This topic was raised in ano part of CC under the banner of what should be in the next Coaching Strategy as I recall.

    Here's the link to the 'What are the key things that you would like to see in the Coaching Plan for England?' conversation Lawrie is referring to if anyone is interested in...



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