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How to Bring Creativity into Your Coaching

Boundaries may exist in sport, but only around the edge of a sports field, and never in the minds of innovative coaches. Liz Burkinshaw explains how creativity into your coaching can help the people you coach improve their skills and be open to changing their thinking – and you to become a better coach

If we were to ask a would-be coach where creativity features in their grand plan, they would likely point in the direction of the arts faculty. Creativity has no place in sports coaching, right?

A simple definition of creativity is the use of imagination and original ideas to create something. The ‘something’ created can be an idea, a new game or a tactical solution. 

On the first day of training, students are filled with enthusiasm for their course of study. They are full of ideas about communication, passion, the ability to engage athletes and sport-specific technical skill…but it needn’t stop there.

Creative coaches have good imaginations, original ideas and are inventive in their approach to finding solutions. Original ideas are rarely original. They are often a composition of other ideas with a new problem in mind.

Encouraging creativity in the people you coach

Psychologist Edward de Bono defines creativity as ‘breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way’. 


Every coach can help their participants become more creative by adapting some of their existing and basic physical, technical, tactical and mental activities. It requires a refocusing of the objective of the activity away from physical outputs to develop creativity.


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UK Coaching Team