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UK Coaching Team
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Self-care and development

Strength in Your Team: A Guide to Coaches’ Social Support Networks

Coaches can take strength from being part of a wider team and network, which can be far reaching, virtual, outside of your sport and even outside the athletes’ that you coach

In the same way as staying connected to other people is important for our well-being and development, so it is vital coaches cultivate a professional social support network they can rely on, as those connections will help you to grow your coaching skills and overcome any challenges you face on your coaching journey.

Here are the key sources of support for coaches:

National

National Governing Bodies (NGBs)

National Governing Bodies are an excellent site for connecting to bespoke learning opportunities, resources, and coach development pathways. Find your NGB use the link on the image.

UK Coaching Resources

A treasure trove of coaching podcasts, guides, articles, videos, webinars and online classrooms.

Sport England ‘Club Matters’ workshops

Club Matters workshops are short training sessions, funded by Sport England and delivered across the country by Club Matters facilitators in a range of specific topics.

Local

Clubs

A coach’s local club can be an excellent social learning space both formally, via qualifications, and informally, through engagement with coaching peers, athletes, and parents.

Coach developers

Working with a coach developer can help your ongoing development as a coach. You can find out more about the role of a coach developer in this article.

Active Partnerships

Your local Active Partnerships will often have Club Development officers that can support clubs and coaches or provide guidance on who locally can help. The benefits from working closely with your local Active Partnership include advice about local funding opportunities; access to their network of local partners; share and access news and event updates.

Social

Family & friends

Fourteen million adults have coached sport or physical activity, at some point in their lifetime. This represents over a quarter of the adult population, 27% (Coaching in the UK, Coaching Survey, 2017).

Coaches from other sports (Communities of Practice)

CoPs are a great way to learn. A social form of learning, they bring people together on an ongoing basis with a common purpose or passion to learn from each other.

 

Online

The online world has oceans of resources to support you on your coaching journey. Online courses are available from Universities, there are a huge range of podcasts aimed at a range of coaching levels and there are many TV programmes and documentaries focused on coaching and coaches.

Some thoughts from the world of research…

Importantly, the connectivist model emphasises the idea that knowledge is stored and manipulated within the networks through which individuals engage (Siemens, 2004). For example, a coach may seek feedback from online sources or a trusted peer, a move which within their network may privilege certain perspectives over others.

Knowledge is thus viewed as a process, fluid and dynamic, flowing through networks of humans, artefacts, spaces and cultures (Goldie, 2016). To this end, knowledge resides within networks – networks within which we negotiate engagement that shapes the use, purpose and breadth of the learning experiences therein.

Reflect

As the research suggests, knowledge lives in the networks we have as coaches. Take some time to consider who you are connected with and how their knowledge and experience can support you on your journey. You might want to review your coaching family tree and consider the connections you would like to make to help your ongoing development as a coach.

 

Next Steps: Navigate our Support Map

Our coaching journey map has been designed to help people involved in coaching identify the route you would like to take, understand the challenges that might lay ahead and how you might navigate through, around and beyond them.

Take a Look

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