Are coach education programmes the most effective method for coach development?

Jordan Maclean, Ross Lorimer

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The purpose of this study is to establish whether coaches from a multi-sport context develop most effectively through coach education programmes and whether formal learning is fostering coach effectiveness. A sample of eight qualified male multi-sports’ coaches participated with an age range of 24 to 52 years (M = 32.6, ± = 8.9) and 9 to 18 years coaching experience (M = 12.6, ± = 3.8). Qualitative semi structured interviews were employed, lasting approximately 30 to 60 minutes. The data then underwent a thematic analysis process reducing the data into six overarching themes: values of the coach; the coach’s role on athlete development; forms of learning; barriers regarding coach education; role of governing bodies; coaches career pathway. The findings of the study indicated coaches access a wide range of sources to enhance their practice, but informal learning was preferred (interacting with other coaches and learning by doing). This resulted from numerous barriers experienced surrounding the delivery, cost and access to coach education programmes preventing coaches from progressing through the pathway. However, coaches in the study feel coach education should be a mandatory process for every coach. The findings have implications for policymakers and sport organisations in developing their coach education structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Coaching Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Coach education programmes
  • Coach effectiveness
  • Sports coaches
  • Multi-sport context
  • Sport organisations


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