Understanding Performance Coach Development: Perceptions About a Postgraduate Coach Education Program

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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The purpose of this study was to enrich our understanding of formal coach education settings. We investigated how coaches developed knowledge during a postgraduate tertiary coach education course. We also explored coaches’ perceptions of changes they made to their coaching attitudes, behaviours, skills, and practices as a result of their studies. Semistructured interviews1 were conducted with 17 performance coaches. Results revealed that coaches developed knowledge through rich learning situations that were relevant to their coaching context. Furthermore, the three types of knowledge (professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal; Côté & Gilbert, 2009) were fostered in an environment that was socially constructed through a Community of Practice. Coaches felt they were better equipped to develop athlete performance as a result of the knowledge gained through the course. The findings reinforce the importance of developing formal coach education that is learner-centred, provides diverse learning experiences, and embraces informal learning concepts when embedded in formal learning contexts.

Jaime Araya is a PhD student and seminal tutor in the faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, Australia. He works with the state governing body in coach education and is also the technical director for coach education for several associations and football clubs. Hi current work mainly centres on youth development, in both coaching and player development.

Andrew Bennie is the director of the Health and Physical Education program at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. His research interests include sports coaching and coach education; Indigenous sport, education and physical activity; and teaching and learning in health and physical education. He has published 18 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He teaches undergraduate units in physical education pedagogy, sport coaching, and sport psychology.

Donna O’Connor is an associate professor and the course coordinator of the postgraduate program in Sports Coaching at the University of Sydney. A former strength and conditioning coach, she publishes and presents on her research interests which focus on sports expertise, and athlete and coach development. She has worked with a number of teams, coaches and sporting organisations in translating theory into practice. Address author correspondence to Donna O’Connor at donna.oconnor@sydney.edu.au.

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