Coach Education and Learning Sources for Coaches of Masters Swimmers

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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Masters Athletes (MAs; adult athletes typically over 35 years old who prepare in order to compete at levels ranging from very recreational competition to serious competition) want coaches to cater their approaches to working with adults. Using adult learning principles, we previously found that some coaches cater their approaches in ways to accommodate the manner in which adult athletes prefer to learn. The purpose of this article is to articulate swim coaches’ perceptions of how they learned to work with MAs and whether their formal coach training meets their needs related to coaching MAs. Eleven swim coaches were interviewed regarding how they learned to coach MAs, and were questioned specifically about their coach development broadly and coach education specifically. The data were thematically analyzed and results revealed six main learning sources: coaching experiences (e.g., interacting with MAs, reflection, advice from MAs, coaching youth), experience as an athlete, reading books and Internet searches, networks and mentors, formal coach education, and non-swimming experiences. Results also revealed key themes about coaches’ perceptions regarding coach education, specifically the lack of connection between coach education programs and the Masters sport context, and coaches’ interest in coach education specific to MAs.

Bettina Callary is with Sport and Physical Activity Leadership, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Scott Rathwell is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Bradley W. Young is with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa

Address author correspondence to Bettina Callary at Bettina_callary@cbu.ca.
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