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What is physical literacy?
January 17, 2018
What is Physical Literacy? Physical Literacy is a term gaining currency to help promote the need for children to be given the opportunities to move. Physical education has been squeezed out of the school curriculum, competitive sports have taken over and many children are disheartened and therefore disengaged. “Partly through lack of sufficient activity some children […]
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Bridging the Gap: Coaching Theory to Practice

Bridging The Gap

Will Roberts: Senior Lecturer in Sport, Coaching and Physical Education

There is an increasing amount of research in the fields of strength and conditioning and sports coaching, and with an increasing interest in the profession of coaching there are more and more practitioners in both of these fields.

 The problem

It is quite common that researchers rarely ‘do’, and practioners rarely have the time to ‘research and reflect’.

What happens? Well, there is a gap between the theories of coaching, and the actual every day practice of coaching. Unfortunately, what has not been dealt with is what sits in this gap. Recently, what this gap has referred to is the lack of knowledge of either the coach or the researcher (which is never the same person) which impacts on the level of ‘good’ or ‘effective’ coaching that can take place.

As I reflect more on this ‘gap’, and having witnessed James Marshall and his colleagues deliver a coaching day in Exeter recently, is that this ‘gap’ (and those that are in the gap) is young people’s athletic development. If researchers and practitioners don’t start collaborating then these young people that we are charged with coaching will continue to be physically, technically, tactically, socially and psychologically underdeveloped.

The solution?

James Marshall and his colleagues are starting to build a bridge across the gap of academic and practitioner. Thorough reflection, mentoring, challenging the traditional, reading, writing and thinking coaching, James is questioning long held beliefs about the ways in which we should coach young people, and the types of things we should be coaching young people.

From nutritional workshops, to free play, to technical skill development for running, (one young man couldn’t run at the start of the day – his technique was a little closer to athletic by the end of it, a genuinely impressive improvement) James and his colleagues followed up a series of coaching sessions with the day long workshop.

You might think that this is not unique, but done well it certainly is. You don’t have to be an ex-athlete, a household name, in possession of a PhD, or a consultant in coaching to be effective.

James and his team are a great of example of what coaching should be. In order to bridge the gap between those researching and those doing, we need to become both.

It is vital that coaches in future are innovative, thoughtful, thought provoking, challenging, researching and DOING. Only when this happens, will we really bridge the gap and service those that are looking for support and guidance so that we have competitive, healthy, fit young people that are the athletes, participants and future coaches and teachers.

Further Research

For some further thoughts on sports coaching, it may be worth reading the following:

Robyn Jones (2006) The sports coach as educator: re-conceptualising sports coaching published by Routledge: London

Robyn Jones and Mike Wallace (2007) An Introduction to sports coaching: From science and theory to practice published by Routledge: London

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Client Testimonials

Jess Bradley: European Tour Golfer
                I first worked with James in Devon Golf’s High Performance Group when I was 16. His attitude and enthusiasm towards training was the main reason I approached him whilst I was studying in the U.S.A to train with him again. He makes our sessions tough but enjoyable. He […]
 
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Upcoming Courses

Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Course – Somerset **MARCH 2018**
17 Mar 2018

Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Course – Somerset

Venue: Princess Royal Sports Complex, Wellington, Somerset. TA21 8NT

Assessment Day: Sunday 25 March 2018

Cost: £280 including materials and access to online resources. To book send a deposit of £100 here.

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