Mark from At Home on the Court a while back flagged a really interesting article which criticizes common practices in coaching education and development. In particular, it lists the “ten really dumb things we do and call it Coach Education.”
That list is:
- Basing coaching education on sports science
- Failing to align coach development with athlete development pathways
- Believing competency based training is the new messiah
- Running workshops and conferences largely based on sports science, gimmicks, fads, and short cuts
- Giving token attention to mentoring programs
- Teaching outdated periodization processes
- Focusing more on teaching “what” and not “how” and “why”
- Creating courses based on the past, not the future
- Allowing course presenters who lack high level teaching, education, and communications skills
- Too much classroom-based coursework
I’m going to speak to a couple of points of particular focus for me. I encourage you, though, to read the full article.
I’ll just quickly touch on the sports science bit from #1. The main idea to that point is that as coaches we spend only a very small proportion of our time on this area of our work (the author suggests about 5%). In other words, it’s not a developmental area that is likely to have the biggest impact on our overall ability to do a good job as coaches. This is particularly true if you are – or intend to be – a full-time coach (or at least run your own program).
I especially like #4. It’s something that as a key part of Episode 3 of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards Podcast. We had a trio of interviewees share their views about the importance of how you react to presentations at conferences and clinics, and what you see other coaches do with their teams. I would add to that the fixation in those educational venues on games and drills and other technical/tactical elements. Think “How do I fix ….?” (see You don’t need a new drill).
The mentoring point of #5 is something that was among the first subjects I took on in this blog. I think it’s a major area in need to development in volleyball coaching circles, as too many of us don’t get that kind of guidance. Instead, we are thrown into things without much in the way of direction, advice, etc.
The idea of shifting from “what” in #7 is something which very much hits home to me. I used to be a very technically focused as a coach. At some point, though, my mentality started shifting. I began to realize that what’s going on between a player’s ears was the bigger issue which definitely gets into the “why” of things.