Sports Psychologist Dan Abrahams shared the following graphic on his Facebook account. I think it does a really good job of pointing out where we, as coaches, need to operate.

Now, having said that, there’s an issue with this concept.

It assumes a coach who is pretty well balanced in all three dimensions – what the research says, their coaching context, and how much experience, etc. they have to apply. The reality of the situation is that most coaches aren’t that balanced. I suspect if you did an examination you find they would be strongest in knowledge of context. Not that I’m saying they all have perfect knowledge, but this is more about being observant and thoughtful.

A lot of coaches don’t really know much about the research, but I think the coaching expertise bit is perhaps the trickiest aspect. Why? The Dunning-Kruger effect. That’s where someone believes they know more than they do because they lack the knowledge to realize their limitations.

The result is probably a situation more like this.

So for most coaches the developmental need is to increase knowledge of research and coaching expertise. Honestly, the former is probably the easier to do of the two, since that’s mainly just reading. Coaching expertise isn’t just knowledge. It’s also experience.

Here are three other posts motivated by Dan’s writings.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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