Welcome to the Year 2030.
I am your Sports Coaching Learning Experience Creator, Wayne Goldsmith, and I will be implanting some new ideas about coaching into your learning input device for insertion into your enhanced brain module.
Please switch your learning input device to the optimal engagement setting and let’s begin.
Before we look at the Future – Let’s Take a Quick Look at Coaching in the Past.
In the 1970s coaching was very much about anecdotes and “passit-down” sporting knowledge. Coaches and athletes were the custodians of most of their sport’s knowledge about training and competition, which they’d gained through first-hand experiential learning.
In the 80s, following the establishment of the Australian Coaching Council, coach education became more organised, structured and formalised with the introduction and expansion of the “Levels” system and the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme.
The “linear and levels” coach education model was focused primarily on the science of coaching with coaching courses built around the fundamentals of physiology, biomechanics, psychology, nutrition and skill acquisition, all bound within the theoretical framework of “Periodisation”.
The system and philosophy of “linear and levels learning” continued largely unchanged over the next 30 years and is still the default coach education model in most of the sporting organisations in Australia and around the world.
Increasingly in recent years government sporting bodies and national sporting organisations have sought to adapt, evolve and change their coach education and development strategies to be more flexible, dynamic, individualised and responsive to the specific needs of a rapidly changing coaching workforce.
Where is Coaching Right Now?
Sports Coaching and the training, education and development of sports coaches is undergoing a revolution.
Driven largely by the need to more appropriately train the coaching workforce, sports science focused, content heavy coaching courses and conferences are diminishing, progressively being replaced by learner-focused, contextually delivered coach development programs.
Sporting organisations have begun to understand that coaches are the critical connection between the sport and the sport’s clients, i.e. kids and families. As such coaches are the key element of the sport’s industry workforce that need to understand how to deliver quality, engaging sports experiences.
Where to Next with Coaching and Coach Development?
There are three important future trends in coaching and coach development that will shape the sports industry over the next ten years:
The Parent Coach
The majority of the sport’s industry workforce are part-time, amateur, volunteers and, in junior sport, that usually means PARENTS.
Parent Coaches are the driving force of amateur sport and the more effectively we can train them to deliver the experience of sport, the more likely it is that sport will grow and flourish into the future.
Parent Coaching 2030
Parent coaches will sign up to coach a junior sporting team. They will not need to attend a full day or weekend coaching accreditation course about sports science and periodisation. Instead, they will do a short training session delivered on-line about safety, creating positive experiences, how to engage the hearts and minds of children and how to communicate and connect with parents and families. They’ll also have an App on their smartphone which tells them exactly what training activities to do, send them short videos demonstrating drills and skills practice sessions and reminding them to say hello and smile to all the parents at every practice session and game
The Distance Coach
Ask any sporting organisation: it’s difficult to gain, train and retain quality coaches.
It’s likely this trend will continue and that finding and keeping outstanding coaches will be increasingly challenging.
Distance Coaching 2030
With fewer high level, well trained, experienced coaches to go around, we’ll be using the technology to better connect coaches with more athletes. Coaches will be recruited to work at a central location or to work from the Club-house and they’ll connect with athletes through miniature microphones placed in each athlete’s ears. The coaches will be observing training sessions remotely by HD video captured by their Coaching Drone and sent immediately via a live direct feed to their smartphone screen allowing them to give each athlete real time feedback on the training session activities.
The Linear Learning Coach
For the past 40 years, coaching has been seen as a linear development profession. Coaches commence their learning journey as a “Level 1” coach who is focused on working primarily with beginner level athletes.
Over time, coaches progress to Level 2, Level 3 etc. etc. gaining knowledge and understanding on how to coach more experienced and higher levels / standards of athletes.
However, as the statistics on sports participation all over the world keep telling us, the numbers of kids playing competitive junior sport is dwindling.
There are fewer and fewer kids playing competitive sport and therefore offering coaches a “learn-byprogressing” education model is no longer relevant for the sports industry.
The Linear Learning Coach 2030
A new type of coach will emerge in the future…the HIGH-PERFORMANCE PARTICIPATION COACH. Coaches will be able to access a virtually unlimited amount of knowledge, skills and ideas even if they choose to remain coaching the Under-9 basketball team for their entire coaching career. Coaches will not have to commit to coaching more advanced level athletes or more experienced teams to gain higher levels of knowledge and understanding.
They will be able to access programs and opportunities to become WORLD CLASS UNDER-7 RUGBY COACHES or the WORLD’S BEST UNDER-11 TENNIS COACHES if they choose. By 2030, the focus on medals, ribbons, trophies, titles and records will be replaced: replaced by a commitment to coaching kids – and on becoming a coach who can provide the environment and the opportunity for all kids to fall in love with their sport and to revel in the of experience of fun, fitness, friendships and families while playing sport.
The three future trends in coaching and coach development presented and discussed in this article so far are already happening: the future is already here.
There are sports who have designed and developed Apps which deliver details of training experiences, workouts and practice sessions direct to the phones and into the hands of Parent-Coaches.
There are coaches who are using drones every day directly and remotely in their training programs to allow them to see their athletes with even greater detail and clarity.
There are coaches communicating with their athletes through ear-fitted blue-tooth and wireless technologies during training sessions in real time.
There are sports experimenting with distance-coaching – i.e. using live video technologies to observe athletes from remote locations and provide real-time feedback to the athletes through ear-fitted audio receivers.
There are sports who are already delivering coach education and development opportunities for their junior coaches which are helping them to become High-Performance Participation Coaches without the need to be coaching athletes at higher standards of performance.
THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE
The future can be frightening: frightening unless…you think about coaching and what it is in coaching that really matters. Technology has impacted significantly and invasively in the lives of everyone on the planet.
Yet, coaching is now, always has been and always will be fundamentally a people business. Whilst Robots, Drones, Screens and Clouds provide the promise of some practical technology-based solutions to some of sport’s challenges, in the end coaches change lives.
Coaching is the art of inspiring change through emotional connection. Coaches have the ability to help people see what’s possible and to inspire them to believe that they are capable of remarkable things.
Coaches can help people to see the truth: that it is within the power of each and every person on the planet to choose to be extraordinary.
The future is as much about heart – as it is about real-time, live cardiorespiratory monitoring.
The success of athletes in the future will still be about commitment – not just computing, about desire, not just drones and about application to hard work, not just APPS.
The Future of Coaching is already here.
And the best thing is you already know what Sports Coaching 2030 looks like: the same as coaching always has been – about three words: people, people, people.
Embrace the technology.
Study the science. Become a master of the analysis techniques. Remember that coaching is about you, your athletes and the quality of the relationships you create together. Make it fun, make it about “them”, make it about learning, make it about friendships and above all make it about wonderful experiences and your coaching will thrive for another 100 years.
Wayne Goldsmith has been an influential figure in coach education for the past 25 years. He’s worked with professional, college and Olympic level athletes, coaches and teams in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Europe, Asia and throughout the
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