Nirvana or Never-Never Land: Does Heutagogy Have a Place in Coach Development?

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 University of Central Lancashire
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Heutagogic learning is characterized by the notion of human agency. Power and autonomy are placed firmly in the hands of the learner, who takes responsibility for, and control of, what they will learn, when it will be learnt and how it will be learnt. As a result, if sufficiently reflexive, heutagogic learners are said to acquire both competencies (knowledge and skills) and capabilities (the capacity to appropriately and effectively apply one’s competence in novel and unanticipated situations). The complex and dynamic environment of sports coaching, coupled with coaches’ apparent preference for informal self-directed learning methods (as opposed to more formalised educational settings), would therefore seem perfect for its application. In this insights paper, we aim to stimulate debate by providing a critical overview of the heutagogic method and consider it against the nature of coaching skill. In tandem, we identify some essential preconditions that coaches might need to develop before heutagogic approaches might be deployed effectively in coach education.

John Stoszkowski is a senior lecturer in the School of Sport and Wellbeing at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. His research interests include performer/coach development and education. Previously, he held player and coach development roles at the Professional Golfers’ Association and England Golf, and was managing director of a coaching enterprise specialising in school sport. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dave Collins is chair and director of the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. As a psychologist, he has worked with over 70 World or Olympic medallists plus professional teams and performers. He is director of the Rugby Coaches Association and iZone Performance, Fellow of the Society of Martial Arts, ZSL and BASES, Associate Fellow of the BPS and an ex Royal Marine.

Address author correspondence to John Stoszkowski at
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