Enhancing the provision of coach education: The recommendations of UK coaching practitioners

Lee Nelson*, Christopher Cushion, Paul Potrac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coach education has been identified as a key vehicle for raising the standard of coaching practice. However, the existing body of literature suggests that coach education has had a limited impact on the learning and development of coaching practitioners. In this respect, it has been contended that coach educations ills might be partially attributed to the 'top-down' approach of its design and delivery. While numerous theoretically informed pedagogies have been suggested as a means of overcoming some of the coach educations problems, there has been limited exploration of how coach learners feel that the provision of coach education might be enhanced.

Purpose: To build on a limited body of research that has attempted to source coaches' views about how the provision of coach education might better facilitate their learning and development of practice. In doing so, it was hoped that the findings of this study would provide empirically based insights that would invoke critical reflection and discussion in relation to how the field prepares and develops coaching practitioners.

Participants: Ninety (82 male and 8 female) coaches from eight sports participated in this study. The participant coaches practiced across a range of levels and averaged 23 years of coaching experience.

Research design: A combination of qualitative methods were utilised to gather both breadth and depth of data.

Data collection: A total of 16 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted and 74 open-ended questionnaires were completed and returned.

Data analysis: The interview and questionnaire data were collectively subjected to inductive content analysis.

Findings: It was discovered that the coaches desire to become better practitioners shaped their evaluation of, and recommendations for, the provision of coach education. The participants suggested that relevant and usable course content should be delivered through pedagogical approaches that actively involve the course learners. The coaches urged coach educators to provide a range of learning resources and mentoring opportunities. It was also suggested that further thought should be given to the appropriateness of course venues and costs associated with the attendance of continuing professional development. The findings of this study were considered in relation to relevant explanatory theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-218
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2013


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