Unscrambling the Egg: How Coaching Courses Killed Coaching.

Recently I was asked to facilitate a workshop with the national coach development managers from many of the national sporting organisations in a particular nation. I asked them to bring their entry-level coach education resource or level-1 coaching courses manual to the workshop.

At the commencement of the workshop, I asked them to open their coach education manuals to the first page and to put a red line through anything that could be accessed on the internet for free and immediately.

Over the next 20 minutes, the national coach development managers would effectively “red-line” more than 90% of the content of their manuals.

I then posed the following challenge to them: “Now ask yourself. Why would I – as a coach wanting to learn about coaching…and get better at coaching – why would I pay for and attend one of your coaching courses when 90% of what you’re going to teach me is available free and conveniently on the net?

To Read Part One of Unscrambling the Egg – Click Here Unscrambling the Egg Part 1

If we keep conducting coaching courses based on sports science, this is where we’ll end up – no coaches……

During another recent engagement with a national sporting organisation, I asked a group of coach developers who regularly organize, manage and conduct coaching courses, “What are the key qualities a successful coach must have?”

A group brainstorm produced concepts such as “commitment,” “dedication,” “vision,” “passion,” “empathy,” “creativity,” “compassion,” “connection” and a long, long list of similar, values, virtues and character traits.

I then asked them to open the training manuals they use at their coaching courses and their coach-development resources, and underline anywhere in the manuals where these words – where these values – where these coaching qualities – are mentioned, and where there’s a clear way to develop them in the coaches attending their training courses.

My comment was, “If you guys know what coaching is all about, and you know what it takes to be a successful coach – and you’re not teaching any of these critical concepts in your coach development programs – what the hell are you actually doing?”

To Read Part Two of Unscrambling the Egg – Click Here Unscrambling the Egg Part 2

Stop Running Coaching Courses!!!! They’re Killing Your Coaches.

Coaches ARE the key.

They ARE the sport because it is the coach who is the connection to – who has the relationship with – who delivers the sports experience for – kids, families, participants and competitors.

You need outstanding coaches for your sport to flourish. If your sport is struggling right now and you’re trying to figure out how you’ll survive in the future, look no further than your coaches and to the standard of coaching being delivered in the pools, the courts, the fields, the gyms and the tracks around your nation.

Coaching today is very different to what it was ten ago.

Then – coaching courses were based on the “what” you needed to know to be a coach.

Coaching courses were full of sports science, exercise physiology, biomechanics, skill acquisition, sports psychology, sports nutrition etc. etc.


Because it was relatively difficult to get access to quality information on these topics – at least to access the information in coach “friendly” formats.

Now coaches all over the world can access anything, anytime, anywhere – and usually for free – in the palm of their hands on their smart phones and tablets.

It is pointless – it is a waste of everyone’s time and energy – to conduct coaching courses based on sports science.

It is just not necessary in this era – to spend hours and hours delivering content heavy sports science based coaching courses to coaches who:

a. Can get that information anytime and anywhere they choose;

b. Don’t need it.

But more importantly, coaching – unless you’re working with elite athletes at the highest levels of sport – is NOT about sports science.

We’ve become so intent and so focused on teaching coaches the science of sport and about the “pathway” theory of competitive sport that we’ve forgotten something so basic – so simple – yet so important that it’s killing coaches and coaching and contributing to the significant decline in competitive sport all over the world….

We forgot to teach coaches how to coach!

Kids and parents do not choose to join a tennis Club because the coach knows a lot about physiology.

Kids and parents do not choose to connect with a Football Club because the coach has outstanding video analysis skills and a Masters in biomechanics.

Kids and parents are seeking quality experiences delivered by passionate, enthusiastic, caring coaches.

They’re looking for coaches who’ll create positive, enjoyable, interesting and engaging sports experiences for them – based on their, i.e. the kids’ and the parents’ specific needs.

Let’s Save Our Coaches.

Competitive sport all over the world is dying.

Coaches are the one group of people within sport who can save it.

But they can’t save it unless we give them the tools to perform the rescue.

And the tools they need are not learning more about mitochondria, how to draw a Yerkes-Dodson curve or how to spell A.T.P.

We can save competitive sport.

We can grow sport and make it a vitally important and relevant aspect of society for the next 100 years.

But it begins and ends with coaches and coaching.

Wayne Goldsmith