Coaching the Coaches: A Coach Developer’s Experiences Creating and Implementing a Positive Youth Development Coach Education Program

Fernando Santos1,2, Martin Camiré3 and Dany J. MacDonald4

1 School of Higher Education, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal
2 inED, Center for Research and Innovation in Education
3 School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada
4 Department of Applied Human Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Coach education programs focused on positive youth development have the potential to equip coaches with the knowledge and tools necessary for them to foster improved developmental outcomes for youth in sport. Coach developers play a crucial role in the creation and implementation of coach education programs designed to promote high quality coaching. The purpose of the study was to examine the experiences of a coach developer in creating and implementing a positive youth development coach education program. The intervention was created by a researcher/coach developer and comprised of five 3-hour sessions delivered bi-weekly over a 10-week period to 13 field hockey, tennis, surf, climbing, and soccer coaches. The program also involved one-on-one meetings between the coach developer and coaches. In terms of data collection, throughout course creation and implementation, the coach developer maintained a reflexive journal. Further, he audio recorded his bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with coaches. The coach developer shared how he struggled to overcome challenges such as dealing with extrinsically motivated coaches and helping coaches apply course content in practice. The learner-centered approach used, including the one-on-one meetings, helped the coach developer focus on coaches’ thoughts, feelings, experiences and facilitated meaningful learning for coaches. The study contributes to the literature by having a coach developer critically reflect on his lived experiences, which led to insights on how to improve the design of positive youth development coach education programs and overcoming the challenges associated with them.

KEYWORDS: life skills, coach education, sport, reflection