UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) have come together to produce a paper as part of a joint ambition to develop coaching as the UK’s competitive advantage.
The Performance Pathway Coaching Position Statement has been created to outline UK Sport and EIS Performance Pathways stance on the nature of pathway coaching and support for the professional development and preparation of coaches who work with high potential athletes.
The paper aims to begin a conversation within the high-performance community around what can be done to make coaching the UK’s competitive advantage and to start pursuing the direction needed to achieve this.
UK Sport and the EIS believe there are four priority areas for the specialist development of pathway coaches and coaching practice – recognition, recruitment, pedagogical knowledge and critical thinking. To support this, there is a suggested need for a workforce of coach developers with the requisite knowledge and skills to develop pathway coaches and coaching.
Through the paper, UK Sport and the EIS wants to encourage the high-performance community to consider a number of topics including:
- The recruitment, deployment and appropriate development of coaches to be effective in creating experiences for athletes to learn, develop, and fulfil their potential.
- Recognising the value and importance of expert coaches at every level of the pathway and coaching throughout the developmental journey.
- Presenting opportunities to performance and coach education departments to consider the required professional development, training, and qualifying of coaches to be effective in pathway roles.
The Performance Pathway Coaching Position Statement seeks to articulate the differences between performance pathway coaching and coaching senior elite athletes and make suggestions as to what can be done to effectively support the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes and realising the ambition of coaching becoming the UK’s competitive advantage.
Head of Coaching at UK Sport, Diccon Edwards, said: “Our vision and ambition is for coaching to be recognised as our competitive advantage, so in producing this we felt it was really important to have an evidence based, researched and informed statement that enables us to provide direction and clarity for the development of coaches and coach developers in the future.
“In our desire to professionalise the role of a coach, and coach developer, we have identified a professional standard against which we can start to benchmark both those roles and then develop and support the workforce to achieve a chartered status. We hope this is the first step in the journey to recognising and celebrating pathway coaching as a distinct domain withing coaching.
Head of Performance Pathways at the EIS, John Alder, said: “If we consider coaching as a profession that has required skills and competencies, then those coaches need the most appropriate development at the right stage. They have to have the right skills to ensure that athletes get the right coaching they need at the right stage of their development. There is no one-size-fits-all coaching practice in the pathway however there are some definite boundary markers that delineate the difference between elite senior coaching and pathway coaching.
“We believe it is important to have a position on pathway coaching as a way of offering leadership to our peers, our partners and the high-performance community. Coaching, and coaches, are critical at all levels of a developing athlete’s experience. It is the coaching, and the coaches, that make the difference.”