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Ashley E. Stirling

Coach education is the key to improved coaching. In order for coach education initiatives to be effective though, the conceptualization of those initiatives must be developed based on empirical learning theory. It is suggested that Kolb’s theory of experiential learning may be an appropriate learning theory to apply to coach education. This paper outlines how Kolb’s theory of experiential learning was used in the development of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program coach education module entitled “Empower +: Creating Positive and Healthy Sport Experiences.” The module is summarized briefly, and Kolb’s six key tenets of experiential learning are reviewed. Applications of each tenet within the coach education module are highlighted, and recommendations are made for future evaluation and research.

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Joseph J. Gurgis, Gretchen A. Kerr, and Ashley E. Stirling

Despite a significant number of coaches pursuing formal coach training through the National Coaching Certification Program in Canada each year, very few complete the entire certification process. The purpose of this study was to investigate the barriers and facilitators that influence Canadian coaches’ decisions to acquire coaching certification. A mixed-methods convergent parallel design was employed to address the research question. The participants included 1,518 certified and noncertified coaches across Canada who completed an online questionnaire identifying the barriers and facilitators to pursuing coaching certification; of this sample, 38 coaches participated in a follow-up telephone interview. Using the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, the findings suggest that most coaches reside in the precontemplation stage, in which they believe in and are thinking about certification, but have yet to engage in preparation. The barriers to pursuing certification included time, cost, tediousness of the process, and inaccessible evaluators, whereas the facilitators included enhanced knowledge and skills and improved coaching reputation. Future directions for increasing participation rates in the certification process include clearly identifying and broadly disseminating the benefits of acquiring certification, clarifying the criteria for evaluation, streamlining the certification process and incorporating online models, enhancing accessibility of evaluators, and incentivizing and rewarding certification.