Coaching in an Active Nation: The Coaching Plan for England acknowledges the role coaches play in helping to inspire people to become and stay active, citing that a third of people who don’t participate in sport or physical activity say that a good coach would encourage them to start.
But it also acknowledges the need to rethink the way coaches are recruited and supported to make sure that coaches are more reflective of the people they are coaching and can support more people to reach their goals. For example, 37% of BAME people play sport but only 5% of coaches come from a BAME background.
Coaching in an Active Nation therefore sets out to establish a set of guiding principles and actions that will cultivate a community of coaches that can inspire and motivate different groups of people to participate in sport and physical activity.
Sport England sets out five strategic approaches to implement the plan across England:
1. Making it easier to become a coach
There is evidence that many people, particularly those from under-represented groups, find becoming a coach very difficult. To overcome this, Sport England will improve coaching qualifications so they are more accessible, quicker, cheaper and easier to obtain. They also aim to recruit 1,000 young people to become apprentice coaches by 2021.
2. Foster an improvement culture
Insight gathered from Sport England research identified that many coaches do not continue to learn and improve after they have gained the minimum qualifications. Coaching in an Active Nation therefore seeks to create a learning and development culture where coaches are actively engaged in improving so that by 2021, 75% of coaches will have access to a coach developer/mentor.
3. Transfer learning into practice
Evidence suggests that coaches are more effective when they are supported in their learning and development by the organisation that employs or deploys them. Sport England therefore aims to encourage organisations to support, manage and resource their coaches effectively to help make sure they are best equipped to provide the best possible experience.
The plan aims for organisations that both employs or deploys coaches to play an active role in supporting and managing them by 2021 and to have 50% of these organisations recognised for their good practice in supporting coaches by 2021.
4. Measuring the change and communicating the impact
Coaching in an Active Nation aims to change the way coaches are seen, from someone who helps an individual to improve their technique to a more diverse range of different people to provide an enhanced experience. Sport England will work with ‘coaching champions’ to establish a baseline measure of the perception of coaching and will aim to improve this by 2021.
5. Enhance the delivery infrastructure
Sport England’s consultation highlighted a lack of joined up working between plans to increase participation and develop more coaches. Coaching in an Active Nation seeks to improve the capability and capacity in partner organisations so they can create thriving network of local and national partners actively collaborating to build a fit for purpose coaching infrastructure by 2021.
Phil Smith, Sport England Director of Sport, said: “Connecting with people, understanding their needs and tailoring support to create the best experience for them is where the future of coaching lies.
“We want to support the coaching world to broaden the definition of what a coach is and I think they’re up for the challenge. We value coaches and their ability to nurture, encourage and support. These attributes need to be central plank of what it means to be a coach.”