CoachNet: The further development of a coordinated network for sport coaching in Europe


Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU), in partnership with the European Coaching Council (ECC), was successful in a bid to the European Commission under the Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport (EAC/18/2011). The project was designed to develop an innovative approach that would contribute to the strengthening of the organisation of sport in Europe as part of the ‘good governance, strand of the EU Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport. The primary objective was to examine ways in which the organisation of coaching could be enhanced in Europe, with a particular focus on the greater involvement of coaches in decisionmaking. In exploring ways to maximise the ‘voice of the coach’, the partnership between LMU and ECC was central to the project. ECC is the continental division of the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE). Through its network, ECC was in a position to identify current organisational arrangements for coaching across Europe. LMU is a well established research and practice oriented university in the UK and played a lead role in coordinating the project and guiding the research methodology through its Sport Coaching and Physical Education (SCOPE) Research and Enterprise Centre. Varying arrangements for the development and management of coaching were observed through a study of European countries. Within this varied landscape, the representation of coaches was sporadic, ranging from no representative mechanism to a number of good practice examples that made provision for the tiered engagement of coaches depending on their role; sport and coaching status category. These examples included confederated models across sports; blended models across coaching status categories and single and multi-sport models for the engagement and representation of coaches. The study concluded that there is a need for a more considered approach to the involvement of coaches in decision-making, with a number of recommendations developed for consideration by member states and the European divisions of the International Federations. These recommendations proposed that the structure of ECC as the European arm of ICCE be reviewed, with the intention to more strongly engage organisations that have been established to represent the voice of coaches and leading to a re-structuring of the organisation. In this context, ICCE and ECC should play an even stronger advocacy, representative and action role in establishing coaching as a blended profession, which includes volunteer, part-time paid and full-time paid coaches. More coherent structures for the engagement of coaches in each sport and country are also recommended. This should occur as part of a wider commitment that the principle of listening to and hearing the voice of the coach should become more strongly embedded within the way in which sporting and related organisations operate. The EU is well placed to lead on this type of approach, ensuring the coaches are more fully engaged in social dialogue and in the process to further enhance the role of sport and coaching in Europe. Further research is also recommended on the nature, needs and demographics of the coaching workforce. All of these approaches need to be tempered with the realisation that coaches are individual decision-makers, operating in a wide variety of contexts and many of whom do not show a propensity for involvement in formal ‘representative’ structures. The need for alternative methods to connect with and engage coaches was, therefore, identified. These include a more segmented approach to engaging with coaches, depending on their coaching role and status, as well as the utilisation of more informal modes of web-based communication to connect directly with coaches in their daily lives. In all existing and future scenarios, the key role of federations at the national and international level in seeking, activating and allocating financial and other resources to connect with and support their coaches was highlighted. The findings have been notified to ICCE for formal consideration, leading to changes in the ways in which the voice of the coach is more clearly represented within the work of the organisation. ICCE should continue to work closely with the EU Sport Unit to ensure that the recommendations of this report are implemented and evaluated on an on-going basis

    Similar works