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COACH TRACKING STUDY A four-year study of coaching in the UK


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Contents Executive Summary ..................................................................1 Meet Joe......................................................................................2 The Importance of Coaches to Clubs and Participation ......3 The Changing Motivations of a Developing Coach ..............4 Supplementing Coaching Knowledge ....................................6 A Drift to Informal Learning ..................................................10 A Manifesto to Improve Support to Coaches......................14 Tales of the Unexpected – the Exit from Coaching ...........16 Appendix 1: A Profile of Coaches in this Study..................17 Appendix 2: Methodology .....................................................21

90766:22 © The National Coaching Foundation, 2012. Designed and produced by Coachwise Limited. All images © Alan Edwards unless otherwise stated.


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COACH TRACKING STUDY

1 Executive Summary

T

his report is based on a unique four-year study of coaches in the United Kingdom. Each year, over 400 coaches completed a survey, providing details on their coaching practice, professional development and motivations. We have used this data to better understand coaches and track their changes over time.

The coaches in this study represent a distinct section of the national coaching population. They are better qualified and more experienced than average and could easily be referred to as the core of any coaching workforce. As such, their views on coaching are worth listening to and acting upon.

3

Coaching allows people to stay involved in their sport. It provides a social interaction with players and, for some, provides a continuing involvement in the competitive element of sport.

4

As coaches gain more experience, they start to supplement their technical and tactical knowledge with more interpersonal and reflection skills. There is also a drift towards more informal learning sources, which reflects the different knowledge being sought.

5

There is a depressing trend in coaches feeling less supported by their governing body of sport and national partners. While the majority still feel supported, if this trend is allowed to continue, we will reach a stage where, by the end of what has been called a decade of sport, less than half of experienced, qualified coaches feel supported.

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The decision to stop coaching is rarely planned in advance. Eight out of 10 coaches who stop coaching did not intend to do so the previous year.

Below are six points to take away from this report:

1

Coaches play a vital role in participation. The 417 coaches in this study alone provided coaching to over 13,000 participants. As club membership increased, it was often these coaches who stepped in to fill the coaching gaps.

2

Although coaches often have very practical reasons for starting coaching (eg there was no one else available to do it), as they develop, they experience a range of different and more personal benefits. There is the satisfaction that comes from seeing athletes develop and a feeling of giving something back to the sport/club/community.

NEXT STEPS This report provides information on themes that emerged from the research. The next step will be to create a series of detailed reports concentrating on specific subjects for appropriate audiences.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Meet Joe If there were such a thing as a typical coach from this study, it would be Joe. His fictional coaching story summarises the findings from the Coach Tracking Study. I was always a very sporty person. Looking back, I think I must have played about 15 sports. Some were more serious than others, and I even made it to county level in a few. I think that’s why my club approached me in the first place – they were short of coaches and figured I knew the game and had the commitment to turn up every week. I liked the idea of giving something back to the club that had given me so much, and I was happy to help. While I remembered my old coach, I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing so I signed up for a Level 1 course. It was worth it. After the course, I had a lot more confidence to coach as I felt my knowledge was more up to date. After a few years, I wanted to take my coaching to the next level so I completed my Level 2 qualification, but nowadays, I like to learn more on my own time.

What I really like about coaching is seeing my players improve and knowing I had something to do with it. Of course, it’s even better when we win – that’s just like the good old days when I was out on the pitch myself. But ultimately, it’s about the players I work with. I want them to have the opportunity to develop, but they’ve also got to have fun. That’s what I love about it! I haven’t coached for two years now. I just didn’t see that coming! What happened was I changed my job and just didn’t have the same time to devote to my players. Hopefully, I can get back into it in some form as I have a lot of skills and experience to offer.

Joe

When I started coaching, it was tactics and drills I was after. While I’m still looking for these, what I really want to do is develop myself as a coach. If I’m going to ask my players to improve, it’s only fair I should try to improve myself. I’ve learnt to reflect on my own coaching and, these days, I would probably learn more talking to other coaches than listening to someone standing at the front of a classroom. Over the years, I found the amount of coaching I did just kept increasing. Our sport would have a recruitment drive, and lots of new people came to the club, but we didn’t have any extra coaches! It was usually me who had to fill in the gaps. I enjoyed working with new people, but there’s only so much one man can do.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

2 The Importance of Coaches to Clubs and Participation

O

ver half of the coaches in this study originally started coaching because there was no one else available, and this trend appears to have continued throughout their career. Last year, one third of coaches had undertaken more coaching than before, and the most common reason for doing so was an increase in participation and thus a greater demand for coaches. Thirty per cent (30%) of additional coaching was due to increased demand within the club, while 27% was the result of taking on a new coaching role with increased responsibility for more participants.

Interestingly, about a third of coaches mentioned that increased demand had been stimulated by a club recruitment drive or a governing body/county sports partnership (CSP) sponsored programme (eg Chance to Shine in cricket, Get Back Into squash, Sky Ride). Here are a series of comments from coaches as to why they have done more coaching.

They show the link between increased participation and coaching: • A growing need at our club, I have taken up football coaching as well as cricket. • The club has more teams, meaning, to get better improvement, I must spend more time coaching. • Local clubs have made a big effort to recruit new members so more basic coaching is required. • Increased demand by our club and local authority (LA)/primary care trust (PCT) projects and opportunities. • Pressure from my club due to increased success of an expanding membership. • Increase in players needing coaching. • Loss of other staff. Taken on another squad group. These findings show the vital role coaches play in absorbing demand created by new participation projects. Equally important are the skills these more experienced coaches bring to a session that ensure new participants receive a good first impression of the sport and are encouraged to maintain their participation. This is in line with exercise psychology research that has found the important role coaches can play in participation. Weinberg and Gould (2003) suggest: Most people starting a programme need extra motivation and the coach/leader’s encouragement, enthusiasm and knowledge are critical in this regard...Good coaches/leaders also show concern for safety and psychological comfort [and] develop expertise in answering questions about exercise.1 These are precisely the skills that experienced coaches can provide to new participants.

1

Weinberg, R. and Gould, D. (2003) Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. ISBN: 978-0-736064-67-5.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

3 The Changing Motivations of a Developing Coach

P

lenty has been written on the needs of participants and the benefits they receive from coaching, but less has been said about what coaches get out of this relationship. From this study, it appears that, as coaches gain experience, so the benefits they receive change.

It is often the case that coaches initially got involved in coaching for practical reasons. The two most common reasons for starting coaching were an existing shortage of coaches at a club (stated as a reason by 49% of coaches) and as a way to give something back to their club/sport/community (stated as a reason by 58% of coaches).2 By Year Four of the study, we see a change. Now, the reasons for coaching are more personal and reflect the satisfaction that coaches receive from seeing their athletes/participants improve and knowing that they had something to do with it. There is also an important social aspect for coaches who enjoy the interaction with players. Nine out of 10 coaches identified these three reasons as their motivation to continue coaching.

2

Coaches could have more than one reason for starting coaching and therefore the percentages do not add up to 100.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Table 1: Motivation to continue coaching (Year Four)

Motivation

Number

%

I like the interaction with athletes/players/participants.

393

98.3

I like seeing athletes/players/participants develop their skills and improve.

391

97.8

I like the buzz when athletes/players/participants do well, knowing that I had something to do with that.

365

91.3

It provides me with opportunities for personal development.

286

71.5

It allows me to maintain involvement in sport now that I don’t play/participate any more.

270

67.5

I like the thrill of competition.

219

54.8

I do it so that I can help my old club/team.

190

47.5

I enjoy coaching because it is a good career in terms of benefits (eg work-life balance).

167

41.8

It enhances my career development.

166

41.5

I do it so that I can help my child in his/her sport.

105

26.3

It is a good social alternative.

89

22.3

It is a good career in terms of pay.

67

16.8

A secondary, and apparently less expected, benefit is that coaching becomes a continuation of participation. Less than a third of coaches started coaching to stay involved at the end of their sporting career, but by Year Four, that had more than doubled. Now, the proportion of coaches citing ‘maintaining involvement in a sport I don’t play any more’ as a motivation to coach had risen to 68%. Similarly, there has been a significant increase in coaches stating that enjoying the thrill of competition is a motivation to coach. Since this question was first asked in Year Two, the percentage of coaches who mentioned the ‘thrill of competition’ has also more than doubled from 26% to 55%. These findings on coaching as a continuation of participation and competition need to be viewed within the context that these coaches predominantly operate in. Only a third of these coaches work with beginners or improvers, and less than half work with children under 11. It is doubtful these results would be the same for coaches working with younger children or in a more participation-focused environment. Very few differences emerged between the motivations of male and female coaches. Male coaches rated the following

motivations more highly: maintaining involvement; the thrill of competition; and helping their children. For female coaches, career development was a more important motivation for coaching, but this may reflect the fact that two thirds of female coaches in this sample were either part-time or full-time coaches. It is not just participants who wish to achieve something from their sporting experience. For coaches, a consistent set of objectives has emerged, with nine out of 10 agreeing the following were essential objectives: • improving the team/athlete in terms of performance, physical conditioning and skill • providing fun and enjoyment • improving life skills. Of these, improving performance, skill and fun were rated as very important by over 70% of coaches. Over the four years, the importance given to each coaching objective has remained constant. The only exceptions were an increase in importance for objectives related to competition (albeit by less than 5%). This is in line with what was said earlier about the changing motivations of coaches.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

4 Supplementing Coaching Knowledge

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here is no doubt that coaches believe there is a benefit to learning and development. Ninety-five per cent (95%) believed it was important to improve or widen coaching knowledge and practice. Three themes that emerged from coaches as to why learning is important to them revolved around: the need to avoid stagnating; a link between coach development and player improvement; and providing better coaching sessions. Coaches often mentioned that you cannot stand still, as sport is always changing, and that you never stop learning: • To continue to improve my coaching, I must have access to coach development, new/fresh ideas and opportunities to learn. • Without continuing improvement personally, any coaching skills and abilities would stagnate and, with it, a loss of enjoyment in my chosen lifestyle and impact on clientele. • It doesn’t matter how experienced a coach is, they can never stop learning or improving how to improve their knowledge. They also see a link between the coach developing and improvement in the player: • To be able to get the gymnasts in my care to achieve their full potential.

questioning/discovery methods. • Sports coaching is always developing/changing. I need to keep abreast of important changes so that I can pass on any relevant knowledge/skills to my students to improve their knowledge/skills. Thirdly, coaches felt that improving their skills led to better sessions: • To make my sessions/lessons relevant, specific to their needs and up to date. • I want to improve the way I deliver my thoughts and ideas to players, to simplify as much as possible and facilitate their development. • This will keep me fresh so that, when I deliver, my sessions are new and fresh.

Information sought by coaches When coaches were asked what types of knowledge and information they sought, technical/tactical knowledge emerged as the most important. This and knowledge of other coaching skills, such as providing feedback, planning, motivation, observation and analysis, were sought by around two thirds of coaches. However, these more experienced coaches also accessed information associated with learning from their own practice. Skills such as listening, self-reflection and evaluation were also in the top 10 knowledge/information sources sought.

• To help improve the performance of the athletes. There has to be a strong knowledge base to supplement effective 6


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Table 2: Knowledge/information sources sought by coaches (Year Four)

Knowledge/Information Sought

Number

%

Technical/tactical knowledge

308

77

Providing feedback

280

70

Planning sessions: structure, format, content

272

68

Listening

268

67

Motivating athletes

264

66

Observation and analysis

262

66

Self-reflection and critical thinking

257

64

Evaluating sessions/programmes

254

64

Knowledge of a wide range of coaching methods

249

62

Providing instruction

245

61

Understanding/evaluating athlete/player development

243

61

Questioning

241

60

Planning programmes (over a season, year, cycle)

228

57

Responsiveness/adaptability to situation/person

228

57

Organisation of sessions (eg facilities, equipment, health and safety)

218

55

Decision making

196

49

Managing the coaching environment

196

49

Facilitating

188

47

As they gain experience, it appears coaches look to supplement their existing coaching knowledge with new types of information. Figure 1 shows how usage of these different sources of knowledge (ie those outside the top 10 in Table 2) has increased since Year Two while more traditional knowledge, such as planning and organising sessions, has been sought out less.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Facilitating Planning programmes (over a season, year, cycle) Evaluating sessions/programmes Decision making Observation and analysis Understanding/evaluating athlete/player Knowledge of a wide range of coaching methods Managing the coaching environment Responsiveness/adaptability to situation/person Self-reflection and critical thinking Technical/tactical knowledge Motivating athletes Providing feedback Listening Questioning Providing instruction Planning sessions: structure, format, content Organisation of sessions (eg facilities, equipment, health and safety) -3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Percentage point change

Figure 1: Change in knowledge/information sources sought by coaches (percentage point difference Year Two to Year Four)

The value placed on information sources

coaching knowledge being supplemented by interpersonal and reflection skills.

While coaches continue to seek out learning opportunities, there has been a decline in the importance they assign to various types of knowledge and information. Although these changes are relatively small (and as Table 3 shows, 88% of coaches still agree that all types of information are important), what is of more interest is that this shift confirms a recurring trend of traditional

Table 3 shows that basic coaching skills around the planning and organisation of a session are the most likely to have decreased in importance for coaches, while those information sources that maintained their value in the eyes of coaches involved more interpersonal skills (such as motivating, listening, providing feedback, and responsiveness) and evaluation skills.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Table 3: The percentage of coaches who believed an information source was important, and the change from Year Two

Year Four (%)

Year Two (%)

Difference

Planning programmes (over a season, year, cycle)

88.7

97.6

-8.9

Organisation of sessions (eg facilities, equipment, health and safety)

89.9

97.4

-7.5

Decision making

92.2

98.9

-6.7

Facilitating

92.1

98.2

-6.1

Planning sessions: structure, format, content

93.6

98.9

-5.3

Providing instruction

94.7

100

-5.3

Managing the coaching environment

91.5

96.7

-5.2

Self-reflection and critical thinking

95.4

99.6

-4.2

Technical/tactical knowledge

95.4

99.4

-4

Questioning

95.5

99.2

-3.7

Knowledge of a wide range of coaching methods

95

97.9

-2.9

Evaluating sessions/programmes

96.2

99.1

-2.9

Understanding/evaluating athlete/player development

95.9

98.7

-2.8

Observation and analysis

97.3

100

-2.7

Responsiveness/adaptability to situation/person

97.4

99.5

-2.1

Listening

98.2

100

-1.8

Providing feedback

98.2

100

-1.8

Motivating athletes

97.6

98.5

-0.9

All the evidence points to an understandable trend in the knowledge sought by coaches. Initially, the basic skills needed to run a coaching session were most important, but as coaches gain more experience, so they want to improve their coaching by adding different skills and start to reflect on their own practice (a process that in itself requires new knowledge). Of course, this doesn’t mean that coaches are no longer looking for tactical and technical knowledge – these are still the most commonly sought types – rather, it shows coaches are interested in increasing their breadth of knowledge. Coaches have also become more discerning about the quality of knowledge being offered. Common reactions

from coaches about the best learning sources in the previous year demonstrate how they value new information to develop their sessions. Comments suggested that new information gives me different aspects and new ideas or helped by revitalising session by introducing new ideas. However, there is also a danger of coaches feeling they are learning nothing new and therefore the value of the learning source is reduced. As one coach commented: It was interesting but of little real use as it didn’t introduce much that was new to me beyond some tactical analyses. Otherwise, it was frustrating. 9


COACH TRACKING STUDY

5 A Drift to Informal Learning

T

he last four years have seen a change in how coaches acquire knowledge. They have moved away from more organised, formal sources towards more informal learning.3 Table 4 shows that the primary sources used by coaches to develop their knowledge and skills tend to be informal sources of learning. Table 4: Percentage of coaches using different learning sources

Source of Learning

%

Coaching practice

86.5

Reading coaching books, magazines and journals

83.8

Reflecting on past coaching

81.0

Working with athletes/players/participants

78.3

Working with/observing coaches from your sport

73.0

Experiences as an athlete/player/participant

63.8

Watching DVDs, videos, CD-ROMs

63.3

Advice from family/friends

53.0

Online learning

54.5

Workshops

57.8

Governing body coaching qualification

44.8

Coaching conferences

48.0

Working with/observing coaches from other sports

43.3

Non-coaching-related education

41.0

Experience at work outside coaching

44.3

Formal sources of learning 3

For the purpose of this study, formal learning is regarded as an organised and structured presentation of knowledge/information to coaches (eg qualifications, workshops and, to a lesser degree, conferences). Informal learning takes place outside of these formal situations (eg learning from experience, talking with other coaches) or is self-directed (eg reading a book or searching the Internet). For a more detailed explanation of formal and informal learning, see the sports coach UK website: www.sportscoachuk.org/resource/coach-learning-and-development-review-literature

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

This drift towards informal learning is best demonstrated by comparing learning sources used in Year Four to Year One. While coaching practice remained the number one learning source, formal sources have dropped down the rankings. The biggest drop has been for governing body qualifications, which have gone from third most popular in Year One to 11th in Year Four. Other sources dropping down the rankings have been

workshops (seventh to 10th) and conferences (10th to 12th). The other source that dropped down the rankings was ‘experiences as an athlete’. This is perhaps not surprising as coaches are now relying more on their experiences as a coach than as an athlete. This is demonstrated by the rise up the table for both ‘reflecting on past coaching’ and ‘working with athletes/players/participants’.

Table 5: Ranking of learning sources used by coaches in Year Four and changes from Year One

Year Four Ranking

Source of Learning

Change from Year One

Coaching practice

1

0

Reading coaching books, magazines and journals

2

2

Reflecting on past coaching

3

3

Working with athletes/players/participants

4

4

Working with/observing coaches from your sport

5

0

Experiences as an athlete/player/participant

6

4

Watching DVDs, videos, CD-ROMs

7

2

Advice from family/friends

8

4

Online learning

9

5

Workshops

10

3

Governing body coaching qualification

11

8

Coaching conferences

12

2

Working with/observing coaches from other sports

13

2

Non-coaching-related education

14

4

Experience at work outside coaching

15

2

Formal sources of learning 11


COACH TRACKING STUDY

A clue to why this is the case may be the importance placed on each source. Top-ranked sources in Year Four have changed little in importance, but outside this, there are significant decreases in the importance given to a learning source. Keeping the results in context, it must be remembered that even those sources declining in importance are still valued by around three quarters of coaches.

Table 6: The importance of learning sources to coaches in Year Four and the change since Year One

Source of Learning

Percentage of Coaches Stating Learning Source was Important

Change in Importance (Percentage Points)

Coaching practice

98.7

-1

Reading coaching books, magazines and journals

92.4

-1

Reflecting on past coaching

96.1

-4

Working with athletes/players/participants

98.3

-1

Working with/observing coaches from your sport

94.2

-5

Experiences as an athlete/player/participant

84.4

-6

Watching DVDs, videos, CD-ROMs

68.7

-30

Advice from family/friends

72.2

-22

Online learning

80.1

-16

Workshops

85.2

-14

Governing body coaching qualification

74.6

-24

Coaching conferences

75.9

-23

Working with/observing coaches from other sports

76

-23

Non-coaching-related education

70.6

-26

Experience at work outside coaching

64.7

-32

Formal sources of learning

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Š sports coach UK

COACH TRACKING STUDY

Another reason for a drift to informal learning is that formal learning may create practical issues that informal learning avoids. Just under one third of coaches undertaking a governing body qualification identified problems of costs, location and timing.

learning. Rather, it is the case that the skills coaches are now seeking are different and more likely to be accessed outside formal environments. Importantly, there is no evidence that the quality of formal learning has impacted on this change.

The comment below from one coach aptly sums up the feelings of coaches who are drifting towards informal learning:

When coaches were asked what the most influential learning source used in the previous year was, opinions were split. 58% suggested informal learning sources, with 42% suggesting formal. Considering the drift towards informal learning in the last four years, you would have expected a similar increase in the percentage of informal sources being considered the most influential. Instead, the results have remained consistent. Why these informal sources have not increased in influence in line with their usage is a question that needs to be addressed in future research.

I feel that I am now at a stage where I will only learn more by speaking to more qualified coaches or initiating my own studies via the Internet. I do not see myself having the time to take additional courses, not that I could afford a Level 3 course anyway. While there has been a drift towards more informal learning, this should not be taken as a criticism of formal

‘I feel that I am now at a stage where I will only learn more by speaking to more qualified coaches or initiating my own studies via the Internet.’

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© Mark Bullimore

COACH TRACKING STUDY

6 A Manifesto to Improve Support to Coaches

F

irstly, it needs to be stated that over two thirds of coaches feel supported overall by their governing body of sport and other partners. But this figure has been in decline over the last four years (down from 75% to 67%), and if this trend is allowed to continue, less than half of coaches will feel supported at the end of what was supposed to be a decade of sport!

These coaches have already been identified as the backbone of coaching and their sport, but increasingly, they feel the support system is a remote, bewildering bureaucracy with structures and processes that make it difficult for coaches to understand. In particular, they feel let down by support with identifying the opportunities that are available and what their next steps in coaching are. (Around one third of coaches feel ‘not supported at all’ in these areas.) Embracing these experienced, qualified and dedicated coaches offers considerable benefits to any sport looking to develop and grow its participants. As part of the research, the coaches were asked to put forward their suggestions for improving support to coaches. Here, the most common suggestions are consolidated into their manifesto for improving support.

Five key areas to this manifesto are:

1

better communication

2

increased access to funding

3

more mentors

4

more individual support

5

better use of technology.

Better communication Coaches want better communication from the top down. In particular, they want a greater focus on raising awareness of opportunities for coaches. However, they also see communication as a two-way process and feel they have a lot to contribute if people will only listen. Comments on communication included: • More lines of communicating, far too easy to be left out of the loop after coaching qualification has completed. • If I didn’t phone, I wouldn’t hear from them unless they wanted me to do something for them (eg fill in a form!). • If you don’t find it on the website, then you don’t know it exists. • Governing bodies to listen when you want to give feedback. Talk. • They could invite coaches for meetings to discuss how they could help more. I read a lot and have almost 20 years’ experience.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Increased access to funding

More individual support

As well as awareness of opportunities, coaches want support with funding to take advantage of them when they arise. Coaches’ issues and suggestions concerning funding included:

There is a feeling that support needs to be based around the needs of individual coaches. Coaches suggested this was best achieved through a more localised network, development officers and mentors.

• As always, I think it comes down to funding. Courses are still prohibitively expensive for some people.

• Work closely with coaches to establish their strengths and weaknesses to help develop in all areas. Not just set up generic courses but establish specific workshops that cater for the individuals’ needs.

• I will not be coaching for the forseeable future as I can no longer afford the cost. Unless something is done about this issue, I am sure many other coaches in various sports will be forced into taking similar drastic action. • Making grants available to upskill (eg psychology, strength and conditioning).

More mentors A regular comment from coaches is that they want to take advantage of more mentors. Working with an experienced coach is regarded as a key developmental opportunity closely linked with taking the next step in their own coaching career. It also addresses a desire for more individualised support. • (More) assigned mentors for coaches who are qualified and aspire to reach the highest coaching level they can. • Grass-roots coaches should have more opportunities to see/watch/work with high level performance coaches to maintain motivation and see new ways of working.

• Lip service is paid to individual coach development. Conferences encompass beginners to expert at the same courses. I would ask coaches what their needs are on an individual basis instead of coming up with the same courses with different names. • Having a coach network, where you can ring to obtain advice on any sport, more drills to be made available for coaches to aid their development, perhaps a local rep for each area who could be used as a sounding board. • The development of regional training managers has been an excellent addition to an already good system. • Better linked in development officers from governing bodies of sport.

Better use of technology To a lesser degree, coaches also suggested IS solutions would improve their access to information and training resources.

• To have a mentor who understands governing body of sport/LA/school to impact and have the opportunity to move forward.

• More free advice available through courses or information on the web. • Online support, provision of computer-based learning/experience that can be accessed at a time convenient to the coach. Conferences/workshops etc, although very useful, require time to attend.

© SWpix.com

• There needs to be a concerted forum/resource across the various sports to provide the latest ideas/documents/ models/concepts in coaching with free access for all levels of coach on which to share best practice.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

7 Tales of the Unexpected – the Exit from Coaching

E

ight out of 10 people who stop coaching did not intend to do so. Over the course of this four-year study, 130 coaches who stopped coaching provided information on why. Of these, only 18% had stated the previous year that they intended to stop coaching. The most common reasons for stopping coaching were personal (71% of all responses). These included changes in work, education, family circumstances or health. As these are often unexpected events, it is not surprising that the coaches did not expect to stop coaching. Only 15% of coaches are full-time, and it is not surprising that their life outside coaching has as big an influence on their coaching careers as what happens in the sporting arena. System-related reasons accounted for under a third of coaches stopping coaching. These were mainly a lack of support and opportunities. This is consistent with other results in that coaches are satisfied overall with the support they receive, but there is a small percentage who are dissatisfied. Dealing with the reasons behind this dissatisfaction will likely improve coach retention, rather than trying to deal with personal issues outside the control of a governing body.

Work

Education Family

Health

The previous section of this report is a perfect starting point for addressing system-related reasons for the exit from coaching.

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Appendix 1: A Profile of Coaches in this Study

T

he coaches in this study represent a distinct group of experienced and qualified coaches. While this research project originally set out to sample a wide range of coaches, by Year Four, the sample had contracted into this group.

• they are less likely to be working as a volunteer (45% compared to 76% nationally)

Demographically, the coaches are similar to the typical coach profile4, but the key differences for the coaches in this sample are:

The most striking difference between the coaches in this study and the general coaching population concerns qualifications. In this study, 94% of coaches have a qualification compared to the national average of 53%. In addition, these qualifications tend to be at a higher level than average.

• 94% have a qualification, compared to 53% of the overall coaching population • they are more likely to hold a higher level qualification

• they are more likely to be working with higher level participants and in a club setting.

Qualifications

Table 7: Qualifications of coaches in this study compared to the average for all coaches

Highest Level Qualification

4

Coach Tracking All Coaches (%) Study (%)

No qualification

6

47

Level 1

14

18

Level 2

27

19

Level 3

34

10

Level 4/5

19

6

Figures for the national average for all coaches are taken from sports coach UK (2010) Sports Coaching in the UK 3, available to download from the sports coach UK website: www.sportscoachuk.org/resource/sports-coaching-uk-3

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COACH TRACKING STUDY

Employment status Another key difference to bear in mind is that the coaches in this study are more likely to be paid (in some capacity) for their coaching. Only 45% are volunteers compared to the national average of 76%. Table 8: Employment status of coaches in this study compared to the average of all coaches

Coach Tracking All Coaches (%) Study (%) Full-time

15

3

Part-time

40

21

Volunteer

45

76

Demographics The demographics of this group show they are primarily male, non-disabled and white, although, in truth, this varies little from the current coaching population. Table 9: Coaches in this study by gender, disability and ethnicity compared to the average of all coaches

Coach Tracking Study

All Coaches

Number

%

%

Gender Male

311

75

69

Female

106

25

31

Disabled

15

4

8

Non-disabled

393

96

92

White

389

96

97

Black and ethnic minorities

9

2

3

Prefer not to say

7

2

0

Disability

Ethnicity

Total

417

18


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Age The average age of these coaches was 45, and 83% of coaches were aged over 35. The average age at which these coaches started was 28 so they are also an experienced group of coaches. Table 10: Average age of coaches in the Coach Tracking Study

Number

%

15–24 years

15

4

25–34 years

58

14

35–44 years

71

17

45–55 years

156

38

55+ years

115

28

Groups coached and coaching setting The coaches in this study are more likely to be found coaching at club or representative level (eg regional, national). Around one third work with participants described as beginners or improvers (compared with the national coaching average of 57%), and 7% work in recreational settings. This has increased slightly since Year Two, which would be consistent with evidence discussed earlier that these coaches are helping to meet the needs of new participants coming into the sport. Table 11: Level of participant groups coached in Year Four compared to Year Two

Year Four Number

Year Two %

Number

%

Beginner

124

31

121

29

Improver

145

36

139

33

Club

215

54

204

49

County

99

25

78

19

Regional

71

18

74

18

National

61

15

45

11

International

34

9

24

6

Recreational

27

7

22

5

Mixed

14

4

n/a

n/a

19


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Half of all coaching carried out by these coaches takes place in clubs, and 17% takes place in schools. The remaining sessions (which account for one third of all coaching) are evenly spread between private, community and education settings. Direct comparisons with the national average are not possible as the settings used in other surveys are different. However, it is fair to say that the coaches in this sample are more likely to coach in clubs and less likely to coach in schools. Table 12: Setting in which coaching sessions take place

Coaching Setting

Number

%

Club

357

51

School

122

17

Governing body

64

9

Private

46

7

Leisure centre

23

3

Local authority

23

3

Community project

20

3

University

19

3

College/further education

18

3

Youth club

6

1

Sports institute

2

0

20


© Mark Bullimore

COACH TRACKING STUDY

Appendix 2: Methodology

O

ver the course of this project, coaches were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire once a year. The questionnaire used a mixture of closed and open response questions and, as much as possible, tried to ask the same questions from year to year. The participants were allowed six months to complete and return the questionnaire. For those participants who had not returned their questionnaire by post, regular reminders were sent via Coaching Edge and by email. The questionnaire was divided into the following thematic sections: • Section A: Personal changes over the last 12 months • Section B: Coaching changes over the last 12 months • Section C: Coaching experience in the last 12 months • Section D: Coach objectives • Section E: Coach development experiences and knowledge in the last 12 months • Section F: Coach qualifications • Section G: Coaching careers • Section H: Evaluating your own performance • Section I: Support services • Section J: The next 12 months.

Participants were offered three options for completing the survey: • Paper submission: All participants were sent a paper version of the questionnaire along with a prepaid envelope to return it in. • Online submission: Participants with Internet access were sent a secure web link to an online version of the questionnaire. The link, unique to each coach, allowed participants to complete the questionnaire over time and submit once completed. • Over the phone: Coaches were also able to complete the questionnaire over the phone with the principal researcher. A key issue for the project, given its longitudinal design, was to minimise attrition and maximise retention of participating coaches. Given that data collection occurs on an annual basis, it was important to maintain regular contact with participants. As an incentive to maintain participation in the project, all coaches were offered a free subscription to Coaching Edge, a magazine that presents information on coaching, coaching methods, development, leading practice and case studies. The magazine is a quarterly publication, which ensured that participants were receiving communication from the project team every three months. As an additional incentive, all participating coaches were entered into an annual prize draw for the UK Coaching Awards, one of the most high profile events celebrating the best of coaching in the UK. Information and updates regarding the project, as well as the experience of the coaches attending the UK Coaching Awards, were featured in Coaching Edge, thereby reinforcing to coaches the importance of the study and illustrating its impact. 21


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Response The project sought to recruit as wide a sample of coaches as possible using the following methods: • Contact was made with governing bodies of sport development officers to raise interest in the study and establish contact with clubs and coaches. • Information regarding the study was posted on the sports coach UK website. • Interested participants were urged to register their details through a dedicated web page or contact the principal researcher by phone or email. Information was also posted on the coaching pages of a number of governing body websites. • A press release was sent to local press nationwide. • Details of the study were included in sports coach UK’s quarterly magazine, Coaching Edge, which, at the time, had a circulation of 2000+ coaches. • sports coach UK’s minimum operating standards workshops saw 15,000 flyers distributed through sports coach UK’s coach development network and regional coaching conferences. • More than 7000 coaches, including 1000 community sports coaches, were directly invited to take part in the study via a postal mail-out. Table 13: Response rates for the four years

Year

Respondents

One

1264

Two

851

Three

585

Four

417

Of the 1264 coaches who participated in Year One, one third remained in the programme and returned the questionnaire each year. The majority of coaches who did not re-engage with the study did not communicate reasons for their withdrawal, but 130 coaches did indicate that they had stopped coaching and provided reasons for doing so. This information is included in the report. As has already been stated, the sample of coaches became concentrated on experienced and qualified coaches. It is suggested that these are the most interested in coaching and therefore the most likely to spend time completing the annual surveys. This raises some interesting methodological issues for research with other groups who may be harder to engage with.

Analysis Given the longitudinal design of the project and its stated aim of tracking coaches’ progress over four years, it was important to compare Year Four results with those in Year One. To facilitate this, Year One results were recalculated on the basis of the Year Four sample (417 coaches) to provide direct comparability.

22


COACH TRACKING STUDY

Acknowledgements The Research Team at sports coach UK would like to thank all the coaches who took time out of their busy schedules to take part in this research.

Š SWpix.com

We would also like to thank Melina Timson-Katchis and Julian North who no longer work at sports coach UK but were instrumental in developing and running this project.

23

Coach Tracking Study Final Report  

COACH TRACKING STUDY A four-year study of coaching in the UK COACH TRACKING STUDY 90766:22 © The National Coaching Foundation, 2012. Designe...

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