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Posted in: General

Should coaches be bothered by anything more than sports for sports sake?

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  • jturner83

    I expect some differing views on this conversation. Increasingly, coaches are being expected to form part of the UK Government's welfare plans, and sport is moving away from just being about sport. Coaches, or 'trainers' as they were called, were solely responsible for getting their athletes fit, whilst sometimes giving tactical and technical advice. More recently, coaches are role models, health promoters, child development practitioners, babysitters, and expected to use their time spent with young people to deliver positive youth development (PYD) (Drs. Richard M. Lerner and Jacqueline V. Lerner, and colleagues at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, at Tufts University). I have personally heard coaches being openly resentful about all the added 'burden' being put on them, and some have suggested that all they really want to focus on is sport. Be interesting to know what active sports coaches feel about it, especially those that were coaches before the millennium.

  • KateO

    I genuinely believe that coaches should be role models and health promoters. I think it makes it easier for athletes to trust you and what you are asking them to do. I don't mean you have to be the best 'athlete' in your chosen sport, but I think you should eat well, live clean, act responsibly and promote healthy behaviour. 

    If I started to find it a burden it would probably be time to move to something new. 

  • jturner83

    Interesting, and a you're not alone in thinking that promoting health is not a burden. I think that as a member of society who has the fortunate opportunity to work with young people, it would be a missed opportunity to not promote habits that sit outside of sport. I find it a good way for myself to contribute something back to the community, I am a strong backer of collective community responsibility. I guess everybody has their own life philosophy as well as coaching philosophy, and I know very good coaches who are just very honest about it and say that they're in it to get results, not to worry about all that external stuff outside of sport. Even grass-root level coaches actually. Do you think sports coaching as a profession could ever more forward if, as an occupation, we only care about sport.. I think society expects more personally. True story.. beauty therapist are now being trained to spot signs of domestic abuse in their clients, expectations are not just rising for coaches.

  • Ralph


    From the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:22 (King James Version): To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made All things to all men, that I might by all means save some.


    This gives us a problem as coaches, one can’t please everyone. The lines between fantasy and reality are becoming increasingly blurred with the millennial generation. As coaches are you prepared not just for narcissistic parents but for the millennial narcissistic parents?

    Are you prepared to cow down to, and appear weak to the narcissistic expectations, so you can save them? Or is your Job(e) to coach the athlete.


    The new millennial ethos is; “I want to be unique, just like everybody else.” In fact, almost every problem you ever come across with be the dichotomy between connection and individuality. Einstein said; “We are all intrinsically connected (coaches), the individual self, is an illusion.” Brite guy Einstein.


    Never forget “The parent” is genetically modified to obsess over their child, it’s why we see it as abhorrent that a parent would harm their own child.

    I am really pleased James listed “child development practitioner”, all reasonable parents state, “bringing up a kid doesn’t have a manual”, yet will tell you as coaches how to do your job. We are loco parentis for a reason, a good coach is a professional parent. We do have a manual for parenting.

    What parent wants to admit, we bring up their kid better than they do?

    If you can find a parent that is willing to admit this, you can make some amazing changes and differences to a whole family and their generations after, rather than moving from one athlete to the next.


    James is right, there are only 4 types of coach, 1. It’s about results and the next super star they can find; 2. It’s about money; 3. It’s about the their own pathology


    4. it’s never about the coach and it’s all about the athlete.


    I agree with Kate, if it’s too hot in the kitchen…

  • jturner83

    I wonder sometimes if we have overcomplicated sports coaching so much, that it's hard for anybody, let alone a novice coach, to understand what our role is. I suppose that for some people it is easier to just say 'this is what I do, it's a tacit knowledge, leave me to it and stop interfering.' Thomas Gray's poem springs to mind 'where ignorance is a bliss.' I'm not judging anybody for not being informed as such, but i certainly feel that as coaches we should be more informed about the importance of being that 'professional parent' for the time we're with young people, and not really see it as being one or the other. I would argue that if children are well rounded, healthy, socially active and given that holistic support, then they will be more engaged in the learning process, fitter and more capable of coping in stressful competitive situations. I really think that the message getting out there needs to be one of merging sport for development and development of sport, because the goals overlap in my view.

  • Ralph

    I couldn’t agree more with you James, it’s highly unfair on what they are loading on our young coaches, especially now society has been allowed to be complex. Few coaches have heard of Thomas Grey, I’m impressed; do you know the famous Phil Larkin poem?  We hopefully all know by now the model k.i.s.s.; problem is, humans are “simply complex and complex in their simplicity.” They do overlap, it’s a fact not an opinion.

  • Ralph

    David Dunning, a Cornell professor of social psychology, became fascinated by the true story of McArthur Wheeler, an incompetent bank robber who believed that rubbing your face with lemon juice rendered you invisible to video cameras.

    Dunning wondered whether, since Wheeler was too stupid to be a bank robber, he might also be too stupid to know that he was too stupid to be a bank robber. In other words, his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity.

    Dunning wondered if the principle could be applied to more people than just Wheeler, and along with graduate student Justin Kruger, he wrote the paper, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties of Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-assessments."

    According to the New York Times:

    "Dunning and Kruger argued ... 'When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.

    Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine.'"

    They say ignorance is bliss … and if you agree with the Dunning-Kruger effect, this statement is very true to life. After conducting four studies, Dunning and Kruger determined that some people overestimate just how smart they are, and the less skilled a person actually is, the less able they are to realize it.

    In many ways this study has great applicability for those who have formal education and choose to completely discount any natural medicine approach in favor of the drug and chemical paradigm.

    “Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it,” they wrote.

    For instance, the participants who scored in the 12th percentile for intelligence estimated they were actually in the 62nd. Ironically, however, the participants were able to improve upon their skills, and therefore also their metacognitive competence, and this in turn helped them realize the limitations of their abilities.

    So what does this all mean to you?

    Ignorance is all around us … but many do not realize their cognitive limitations. Dunning told the New York Times:

    “Even if you are just the most honest, impartial person that you could be, you would still have a problem — namely, when your knowledge or expertise is imperfect, you really don’t know it. Left to your own devices, you just don’t know it. We’re not very good at knowing what we don’t know.”

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