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Posted in: General

What was your biggest coaching challenge in 2016?

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  •  ... or what is the biggest challenge you face right now? 

    The ConnectedCoaches team and the product development team at sports coach UK start are starting to plan for CPD topics to focus on over the next 12-months. And we'd love to get your input. 

    You've already given us lots of ideas through your contributions already. But by finding out the biggest specific challenge you face right now, we can design tools and content that will have the greatest benefit for you. So don't be shy, make your views count.

    We'd like to know:

    1) what's the biggest challenge you face?

    2) What's stopping you overcome it?

    3) What would overcoming the challenge mean?

    Please be as specific as you can citing specific examples and real-life experience. 

    Acting Community Manager
  • Johnsmith1


    I have just set up my own Fitness/Running Performance  Coaching practice in a small village on the south coast. The demographic is predominantly towards the mature end of the age scale. As a result my 6 athletes (clients) so far are in there 50's : some have run in the past, stopped and want to re start there running journeys. Others have never run at all. Also all these athletes are female - no males so far!!!

    My challenge and barrier is designing individual programmes to help them progress without increasing the risk of injury and/or age related health issue eg one of my athletes had a stroke 3 years ago. I read quite widely and I haven't come across any material that is relevant to this target group. Generally speaking most of the material  is tailored to a particular age/ capability group eg they are young and/or  at a level of maturity to compete at an event level. I haven't seen any material that reflects the older runner/gender  (beginner or experienced) let alone that maybe gender  specific. 

     The key barrier is accessing knowledge and information that I can use and tailor quickly to suit this target group with there specific individual requirements. 

    Overcoming this challenge would mean I could offer tailored programmes to a wider group of mature athletes and help them lead a more active and healthy life style. 

    Hope thats helpful


  • Thanks for being the first to respond  John Smith That's quite a challenge you've got.. But we love a challenge.

    We work with the Register of Exercise Professionals so its possible we may be able to access some knowledge through that network. I'll put designing programmes for older people with health conditions on the list. 

    Acting Community Manager
  • anfy

    As a bowls coach, the "usual" demographic for us is the older age group - I have even had beginners join in their 90's. So, for me, a group in their 50s are youngsters!

    May I suggest that the solution lies not in how you coach, but what you coach? ie perhaps you should be looking at a programme that will give them a sense of achievement without it being "at an event level"? Produce your own "events" for them - incorporating other factors - say something along the lines of orienteering? I (as you can probably tell!) know nothing about running, but do know that the older age group often do not have the stamina or often physical fitness of younger age groups.

    However, one thing they will all be experts on is their own health!!! So listen to them. Ask what they want to improve : fitness, stamina, speed etc. They will know only too well what they can and cannot do, and, given an element of competition, will push themselves to improve. Ask the group for permission, then discuss between you all what targets you will set for the group. Maybe have some targets in pairs, with people supporting each other - ie a sprinter and a long distance runner as a pair in a relay with two different distances in each leg? Start looking at fun exercises, mixing shorter bursts of running with something else during which they can recover.

    Just some thoughts.

    Do not be frightened of what is really NOT an "old" group - come and join my coaching sessions sometime, where the average age is 75 and a lot use walking sticks, have bad hips, etc. And are still a lot fitter and more flexible than many of their non-bowling peers. And have the stamina to play for 4 hours at a time, lunging, bending, etc!!!

  • KateHP

    My biggest challenge is being female in a male dominated sport, even though the sport is seen by many outsiders as a girls game and the women's team have been incredibly successful. I believe gender discrimination is stopping me being more successful and having access to coach development opportunities. I often experience assumed discrimination when I go to competitions with a male colleague by the TD or competition organisers. They assume I am the assistant coach, manager or mother of one of the players! Especially when I coach boys.  At boys competitions I am often the only female coach involved with any team.

    I am not sure how I over come it... currently my governing body does nothing different to develop female coaches and to my knowledge has not participated in Project 500. Not that this was really suitable for me because when this project came into being I was already a qualified level 3 coach and it was really aimed at beginner grassroots coaches. I regularly see less qualified and less experienced younger male coaches being fast tracked.

    Over coming the challenge would mean fairer access to coach development and becoming a better coach which is what I strive to be every time I step onto the pitch. 

  • Hi  Kate Porter Thank you for your response. I'll add this one into the pot. 

    There is the Reach website  Again its for new coaches but you might find some of the stories towards the bottom give you  inspiration. s

    I sense there might be quite a few ConnectedCoaches members in the same boat. So you could start a conversation in the meantime and see what responses you get.   You might get some tips  from other female coaches who have faced similar challenges. A few members come to mind and we could prompt them.

    To get started, click on Share on the top menu top >start a conversation in the Welcome and General Group. Good luck with that. 

    Acting Community Manager
  • aspofkd

    My biggest challenge going forward for myself will be too be part of a national coaching team. I currently hold a UKCC level 3 coaching qualification the highest in my sport. I have both a degree and masters degree in sport coaching, I have developed junior national champions in my sport and coach the current junior national champion. Last year i was shortlisted for national coach of the year. I have been coaching and lecturing for the past 14 years. The problem I face is that past-players are being prioritised - I have played to a high level in my sport but it appears that unless I have been at world class level the door seems closed no matter what i do as a coach. any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

  • KateHP

    This is a tough one and I think the same in a lot of sports. Certainly true of the sport I coach in. I can't add  any advice unfortunately but can completely understand your frustrations.

  • robertepetersen

    Are you familiar with the work on Growth Mindset v Fixed Mindset that Carol Dweck from Stanford writes about?  Her article in Olympic Coach Magazine which I just discovered seriously impressed me.  She talks about these two mindsets and their implications for coaching.  The Fixed Mindset wants to "look" smart, but avoids challenges, gets defensive, ignores negative feedback, feels threatened by the success of others and, as a result, they plateau early and never reach their higher potentials.  The Growth Mindset seeks to learn, embraces challenges, believes in the benefit of hard work, learns from criticism and the success of others and, as result, continue to improve.  

    At age 70 (almost) I'm clearly in the growth mindset and have been since I earned my PhD in statistics in the late 70s.  Often, trying to share what I have learned from experts, I find youngsters with fixed mindset.  I often wonder how someone so young can be so rigid in their thinking.  From my ongoing research, I find Growth Mindset to be a small minority of shooters and struggle how to change Fixed to Growth.

  • KateHP

    I am. I read it over the summer and try and encourage all my players to consider how they feel about challenges and obstacles before they say "I can't do that". However, until you have come up against the glass ceiling or similar it is difficult to completely understand. Empathy goes a long way to helping participants deal with their frustrations enabling them to see different routes to a solution, knowing that others have experienced similar and found a way through the particular maze they face. We all face different challenges and how we deal with them will be different for each person even if the challenge is the same.

  • Mgkcoach

    Getting a job in professional football.

    Its a catch 22 situation.

    I can't access employment opportunities in academies without an 'A' License and I can't get on an 'A' License course unless I'm working in the professional game.

    Overcoming this challenge would allow me to fulfill my vocation in professional sport.

    I'm an experienced PE teacher of nearly 20 years, I've completed all the FA youth modules and the UEFA B License but seem to come up against the same barrier - A License.

    Also it costs £5000 !!!

  • westy5

    Having my Reading HC U14s B team thumped in most games last season by often double digit scores. The team was entered into a higher league than ever before, with an U12 team occupying it's normal slot.

    I had to keep 15 or so lads' motivation, morale, and team spirits high, throughout. Trying to explain to them that it about the process, and not the outcome and result was not received that well at times!

    We didn't lose any players, and their defensive skills improved, but trying to coach in that environment was the toughest I've faced. Parents were mostly on board, but I felt more like a psycholigist than coach (though may be they are the same)! 

    Having coached A team colts who have regularly won, and have regional players, and some NAGs etc. this was an interesting experience for me, and one that I will treasure in the long run. It certainly was a test of self-control, and I had to dig deep at times, to continue.

    All distant memories now. 

  • CoRak56

    My biggest challenge right now is to find a coach for our u16 CVL and NL boys teams. If anyone is around Woking and willing to take on this challenge, please let me know.

  • I am only a UKCC L2 coach in canoeing in a remote local canoeing club. A lot of people are very keen to come to the club to have a try at the sport. They are having a lot of fun and want to progress to a certain level. To answer your questions:

    1) My biggest challenge at the moment it's to motivate them to get the pre-requisites e.g. knowing how to swim so that they can help themselves when they capsize and getting fitter so that they do not hurt themselves when they try to roll or when they overdo a stroke wrongly because they do not have enough core muscles.

    2) I don't know what is stopping them?. They should get motivated because it's for their own goods. Maybe it's time, money or it's too hard to get fit?

    Maybe I should be more involved and organise a survey to find out? and maybe organise some fitness courses for canoeing for them?

    3) If they were more motivated they would progress faster with less injuries and would enjoy more the sport.

  • robertkmaaye
    On 06/02/18 11:05 AM, Sophie Tankere-Muller said:

    1) My biggest challenge at the moment it's to motivate them to get the pre-requisites e.g. knowing how to swim so that they can help themselves when they capsize and getting fitter so that they do not hurt themselves when they try to roll or when they overdo a stroke wrongly because they do not have enough core muscles.

    Hi Sophie

    Thanks for replying to Mel's question. I think the issue of struggling with participant motivation is something a lot of coaches can relate to. I definitely recommend sharing your challenges with the rest of the community and asking to see if any members have had similar experiences and can share their approaches.

    All you have to do is start a conversation which you can do by clicking the share button on the menu -> then click start a conversation etc

    I'm sure there would be plenty of members willing to share their experiences with you

    All the best


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