The purpose of the current study was to empirically examine the potential course content, structure, and delivery mechanisms for a dedicated elite youth coach education programme in football (soccer) in the UK. By achieving this aim it was the intention of the authors to use the findings of this study for the future development of a customised coach education programme. Fifteen elite coaches, working in youth football at the time of the study, participated in one of three focus groups. Emerging from content analysis procedures, the findings placed specific importance on the development of an athlete-centred coaching philosophy, a focus on behaviours and activities associated with positive youth development, a movement away from traditional practices, and the development of the skills required to learn through reflective practice. In addition, a range of pedagogical approaches, including social approaches to learning, mentoring, and blended learning, were highlighted as ways to better deliver education programmes.
David Adams is the interim assistant manager at Swansea City Football Club, having been promoted from the role of head of coaching at the Academy. He has over 15 years of experience working as a senior coach educator and has mentored many current managers working across the football league. Previously he worked as a principal lecturer in Football Coaching and Performance at the University of South Wales.
Brendan Cropley is a principal lecturer in Sport Coaching and Sport Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences and has consulted with individuals and teams up to international standard. He is also a Level 4 qualified coach and coach educator. He publishes mainly in the area of professional practice, specifically focusing on reflective and effective practice.
Rich Mullen is professor of Elite Performance and Coaching at the University of South Wales. He publishes mainly in the field of sport psychology and consults with national governing bodies and professional soccer clubs promoting the field of sport psychology to coaches. He has just completed a two year tenure as chair of the British Psychological Association’s Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology.