We know there is some excellent coaching research that happens in the UK but often it lies hidden in academic journals or stays in the world of academia. Our ambition is to act as a bridge between the two worlds of research and practice.
A consistent finding in our research is that coaches learn by interacting with other coaches. We have found that they do this a lot and it makes a real impact on their coaching. While reading a piece of research on youth coaches two other rarely considered options sprung to mind.
Meet the parents
As the riders make their way around Italy in the Giro D'Italia I have been reading a book about one of Italy's greatest cyclists Fausto Coppi. He was the Campionissimo - the champion of champions - and his rise to fame is a great case study of what it takes to develop talent.
First of all he obviously had the genes to be a cyclist and as a teenager could easily beat some of the best riders in the region. But there were also other things that played their part.
Last week I presented our research on market segmentation of coaches and questions from the audience proved a great opportunity to refine my understanding of the research.
The ex-Olympic and World Champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton is now facing life in a very different saddle. She is currently learning to ride a horse with a view to competing in an amateur race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016! When I was watching a short video update of progress one thing that struck me was a comment from the coach. As he said…
Any time I mention qualifications in coaching you can rest assured that someone will tell me 'qualifications don't make you a good coach!' This will tend to be based on stories about an expert with no qualifications or a qualified coach who doesn't do a good job.
At the start of our latest survey of coaches we included the line ‘it should take around 15 minutes to complete.’ Today I went through the data and found that the median time taken was 14 minutes and 45 seconds! I’m glad that we estimated correctly.
We would like to thank everyone who completed the survey – a staggering 3,700 coaches took the time to do it. The first set of results are complete and being finalised for publication but we hope to give a few exclusives in this blog over the next few weeks.
I recently read an article about sports science knowledge of coaches in Turkey. One of the most interesting questions they asked was what would be the ideal sources of knowledge for coaches. This is different to the question we usually ask about what sources coaches actually use.
For the most part the results were similar (which I take as a positive):
One of my favourite books is Alice in Wonderland. While analysing the result from a recent survey of 3,7000 coaches it struck me how coaching is its own Wonderland. In essence some of the results are a muddle.
To give two examples:
- The most valuable piece of CPD is being used less and less often.
- The most impressionable participants are taught by the least experienced coaches
The moral of this little story is never to assume that the coaching system is a rational one – coaches and coaching will not always behave how you expect them to.
Traditionally we talk about coaches as either volunteers or being paid. However there has always been a suspicion in our surveys that there is a bit of a grey area in between. So this year we came up with a new wording for surveys and gave coaches four options: