By Bo Hanson – 4x Olympian, Coaching Consultant & Director of Athlete Assessments

The Professional Development Coaches Actually Want

Recently Sports Coach UK released The Coaching Panel, the results of their survey of 1,200 coaches. It was interesting to see some of the insights The Coaching Panel had on coaching and what coaches are most interested in. It is always our intention to pass on the most interesting relevant, and recent information on coaching, so we hope you enjoy this brief insight into their report. We were not at all surprised to see that:

 Over 60% of the most popular topics coaches sought information on were intangible, non-technical, and focused on the people side of sport. This included 3 of the top 5 most popular topics!

Some of the non-technical professional development topics for coaches were looking for information on included motivating athletes, providing feedback, listening, self-reflection and critical thinking, providing instruction, understanding/evaluating athlete/player development, questioning, adaptability to the situation/ person, and decision making.

It is these intangibles what are so critical to get right for successful coaching, which is why we have written articles on most of these topics to help you develop and excel in these areas. (You can find links to these articles at the bottom of this article.) Invaluably, the research also showed how the information needs of coaches changes with their qualification or experience level.

Professional Development Topics for Coaches

“Unqualified and level 1 coaches are more likely to look for information on planning, organizing, instructing and listening (the basics of coaching) but less likely to look for information on evaluating, reflecting and questioning. They are also less interested in athlete development, long term planning or widening the range of their coaching methods.”

“Level 3 and 4 coaches are often the mirror image of their less qualified contemporaries and therefore less likely to look for planning and organizing skills and more likely to look for information on reflection, athlete development and longer term planning. Considering how popular self-reflection is with coaches (79% stated that they use this) it is unusual that only those qualified to Level 3 or above are likely to look for this type of information.”

This really demonstrates that at the high-performance level, coaches already have an exceptional understanding of the technical aspects of their sport. At this level it is their knowledge of the people side of sport that really differentiates the best from the rest. As the legendary John Wooden once said:

“There is very little difference in technical knowledge about the game among most experienced coaches. However, there is a vast difference between leaders in their ability to teach and motivate those under their supervision.”

Where to from here?

If you want more information on some of the topics that coaches actually wanted to learn about, you may find the following articles helpful:

If you want to ask us a specific question or see if we can write an article on a particular topic, don’t hesitate to Contact Us, we love receiving your feedback.

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