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Taking the Leap into #TechWorld

Steve Bentall, Coaching Network Manager (London).

In my previous blogs I’ve been looking at the concept of digital natives and the onset of technology in coaching. I’ve mused about things I’ve heard, seen and read and chatted with coaches about how technology is changing the way that they coach. As a result of this I was contacted by Erki Tarro, a sports enthusiast and blogger at sports tech company Sportlyzer – a software platform for sports team administration and training management. Following some discussion via email, Erki sent me over some thoughts and the result is this ‘collaborative blog’.

Laptop, iPhone and iPadWe have acknowledged that tech is here to stay and it’s going to be a bigger and bigger part of everyone’s life, including coaches. However, we often see how coaches are reluctant to try out new options brought to us through the boom in tech industry due to time constraints and lack of knowledge on the subject. Changing with the times is inevitable to keep on growing, so how can coaches make that leap to the world of technology?

Sportlyzer have talked to thousands of coaches on how and why they do or don’t use technology. We have seen patterns emerge. In general, we can say there are three things that are slowing down the digital revolution in coaching:

  • Coaches have too little time to try out new stuff.
  • Reluctance and lack of knowledge on how to actually start with technology and assess it.
  • Preconceived impressions about technology being mostly for recreational purposes or for super high-end business.

This backs up research recently published by sports coach UK that show the fourth and fifth most common sources of learning to be technology. The rise in the use of the internet as a source of learning from 56% in 2008 to 69% now shows that more coaches are beginning to embrace the digital age.

Coaches are very practical people. They do not need toys that take up the little time they have for actual coaching. In addition, they are often so overworked that they can’t find the time to really explore new options and possibilities for development.

But if coaches are unable to keep their own learning relevant and embrace technology, they run the risk of not being able to engage with a generation of digital natives. New research by sports coach UK looking at self-determination theory and young people has identified that some young people find it frustrating that coaches do not engage with technologies, especially when it could inform their practice.

Technology can actually help coaches in the longer run and is necessary to keep growing as a coach.

But where and how do coaches start? Erki has some ideas, but that’s in the next blog and for the time being, we’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or tweet me your thoughts using #TechWorld.

Read the second edition of this blog.