Despite the increased research interest in coach education there has been little consensus on how novice sports coaches should best be educated. For the coach developer this becomes problematic when trying to design quality-learning activities for novice coaches that provide a foundation for current and future learning. While the research available has focused on specific areas of best practice curriculum for coaches (e.g., planning; communication; coach-athlete relationships; leadership), there has been less interest in pedagogical practice of novice coach education. Signature pedagogies have been recognised as characteristic methods of teaching used by disciplines to organize the learning process into common elements to prepare future practitioners for their professional roles. For Shulman signature pedagogies scaffold the discipline’s habits of ‘head’ (content); habits of the ‘hand’ (skills); and habits of ‘heart’ (values). This suggests that deep understanding of the disciplines’ habits is necessary for the development of appropriate signature pedagogies that support novice learning. The purpose of this Insight paper is to explore the current literature for potential signature pedagogies that support novice coach learning and the coach developer in teaching. A reflective conclusion summarises the main points and considers the direction for future research.
Julia Walsh and Fraser Carson
Laura Poos and Fraser Carson
Recent literature has noted the underrepresentation of women in high-performance (HP) coaching and the challenges faced when they do succeed in gaining entry to this male-dominated domain. Initiatives have been implemented in developed sporting nations to address this. However, less is known regarding the experience of women coaching at HP level in small, economically advanced countries and metropolises, where a number of additional sociocultural barriers exist. Underpinned by LaVoi and Dutove’s ecological model, six women currently coaching at HP level in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were interviewed, reflecting on their experiences in their role. A social phenomenological analysis approach was taken, with a deductive thematic analysis identifying 32 raw data themes: five supports (e.g., passion for the job) and four barriers (e.g., personal sacrifices) were reported at individual level; five supports (e.g., family support) and three barriers (e.g., lack of federation support) identified at interpersonal level; three supports (e.g., open communication environment) and seven barriers (e.g., lack of entry opportunities) noted at organizational level; and two supports (e.g., increased acceptance by male athletes) and three barriers (e.g., hegemonic masculinity) described at societal level. Further challenges exist in Luxembourg due to coaching not being seen as a legitimate career pathway and an underlying cultural expectation for women to manage domestic duties. The structure of the coach education system in Luxembourg makes it possible to address these barriers and enable a more diverse workforce in leadership positions in HP sport. Doing so should create more opportunities and support for women in coaching.
Fraser Carson and Remco C. J. Polman
The aim of this case study was to investigate the emotional factors and coping strategies used by a professional rugby union player during rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. A dominant (qualitative) - less dominant (quantitative) mixed methodological approach was established concurrent with the athlete’s rehabilitation. Twice monthly interviews and a self-report diary were completed throughout the rehabilitation process. Six questionnaires were used to assess specific aspects of injury rehabilitation identified from previous literature, including emotional response, coping, social support, and perceived autonomy. Content analysis of each phase of the rehabilitation process established 34 higher-order themes split into two general dimensions: Influential Emotions or Coping Strategies. Findings highlight the benefit of problem-focused coping to improve autonomy and confidence. A sequential movement through a series of emotions (shock, depression, relief, encouragement, and confidence building) was also identified.
Fraser Carson, Clara McCormack, Paula McGovern, Samara Ralston, and Julia Walsh
This best practice paper reflects on a pilot coach education program designed for women coaching Australian Rules football. Focused on enhancing self-regulation, and underpinned by a growth mindset framework, the “Coach like a Woman” program was delivered to a selected group of female coaches either working in or having been identified with the potential to coach at high-performance levels. This manuscript describes the program content and discusses the key insights identified by the delivery team. Creating a community of practice encouraged the transfer of knowledge and experience between the enrolled coaches, which increased competence and self-confidence. Providing an understanding of behavioral tendencies enhanced positive self-talk and aided self-regulation by the coaches. The delivery of the program and challenges experienced are also discussed. This reflection on the program is provided to assist future developments in coach education.
Fraser Carson, Julia Walsh, Luana C. Main, and Peter Kremer
In the last five years, mental health and wellbeing has attracted greater public, government, and research interest. In sport, athlete mental health and wellbeing has been a focus across all competition levels. The high performance coach responsible for athlete performance, health and wellbeing has not attracted the same attention despite working in an intense high-pressure work environment. Using the Areas of Work Life Model as a theoretical framework, this Insights paper discusses the existing coaching literature to ascertain both contributing factors for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, and negative influences that increase stress and potential burnout. The six dimensions (workload; control; reward; fairness; community; and values) resonate throughout the coaching literature, but to-date, no study has applied the model to this group. Analysis of the extracted articles indicated that high performance coaches should become more self-aware around how to cope with stress and stressful situations, while sports organisations should invest in both the individual coach and the organisational culture to enhance work engagement. Coaches are performers and should prepare themselves to ensure they can perform at their peak; and managing their own mental health and wellbeing is an important component to this.
Adam R. Nicholls, John L. Perry, Leigh Jones, Dave Morley, and Fraser Carson
It is accepted among scholars that coping changes as people mature during adolescence, but little is known about the relationship between maturity and coping. The purpose of this paper was to assess a model, which included dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity. We predicted that cognitive social maturity would have a direct effect on coping effectiveness, and also an indirect impact via dispositional coping. Two hundred forty-five adolescent athletes completed measures of dispositional coping, coping effectiveness, and cognitive social maturity, which has three dimensions: conscientiousness, peer influence on behavior, and rule following. Using structural equation modeling, we found support for our model, suggesting that coping is related to cognitive social maturity. This information can be used to influence the content of coping interventions for adolescents of different maturational levels.