jmcilroy's blog

The evidence shows Coaching Delivers

Over the last few years there has been an explosion of data about coaches, who they are, and what they do. However what seems to be lost in all of this is perhaps the most important finding – that coaches do a very good job!

I was recently looking through this research for a presentation and came up with four examples of how coaching delivers:

Social Media tips for coaches

I recently read an article in the ITF Coaching and Sport Science Review by Mauricio Córdova about five tips for tennis coaches to start using social media. While two are more around professional tennis coaches improving their career prospects there were another three which are worth sharing more widely. These included:

Start with a Facebook group for your club

Children are full of surprises

We recently conducted a survey with 1,500 coaches and one of the interesting things to emerge from the analysis was the various impacts children have on the life of a coach – and often how it comes about by surprise.

Taking this in chronological order (of the coach rather than child) we find:

A common reason to stop coaching is that the coach has become a parent.

What does it mean to be a coach?

Often research on coaching will focus on areas of future improvement and in doing so may miss the positivity of what coaching brings to both the participant and the coach. This year we asked 1,500 coaches what it means to them to be a coach and the most commonly used words are shown in the Word Cloud above (the more common the word the bigger it is shown).

To add some more background to these words:

The Force is strong among Coaches

Last week I started to go through all the data of from our new survey of coaches and one figure hat jumped out was the 100% increase in coaches from Scotland who are Jedis. That may only be a jump from two people to four, but as a proportion of the total sample (0.6%) it suggests that coaching certainly attracts Jedi (when you consider that the 2001 census suggested Jedis accounted for only 0.3% of the population in Scotland).

Obviously force strong it is Scottish Coaching.

Four things coaches could do to increase player satisfaction (even further!)

There is theory in customer satisfaction research that success comes from having between half and two-thirds of customers rating you as 9 or 10 out of 10 with things that are most important to them.

We recently conducted satisfaction research with 3,000 sport participants and we found very high levels of satisfaction with coaching. However in a spirit of continual improvement what could coaches do to get even better?

The value of sound to coaches

The use of video analysis is becoming more and more common at all levels of sport but I recently read an article that suggested audio may be an untapped resource.

In 2012 researchers in Italy recorded the sound of a number of golfers’ swings. The players then listened back to the sound of their own swing mixed among others and asked to identify their own. The results revealed that players could identify the sound of their own swing.

Our health check of coaches and coaching

This week we launched our annual survey of coaches – The Coaching Panel. This plays an important role in all our work as it is the feedback mechanism by which coaches can tell us how they are doing. Think of it as a health check on the coaching community.

We would encourage you to take the survey and share it with anyone you know who coaches.

The link is

What is the most difficult sport to coach? And why?

If you're reading this I suspect you are the sort of person who has, at some time in life, had the ‘what is a sport?' debate. Having exhausted the arguments without a resolution I decided the best thing to do was move on to another equally puzzling question. What is the most difficult sport to coach?
One way to determine difficulty is by the complexity of information a coach has to understand and therefore pass on. So is a sport which requires a lot of technique, say for example perfecting a golf swing, the most difficult?

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