Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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My badminton coach education journey

“What are you doing to improve your coaching knowledge?”
“What do you need and how you will get it?”
“Stop relying on others, take charge yourself”
It was a slightly uncomfortable conversation with my friend and mentor
How deliberate was I in ensuring that I developed my coaching skills & knowledge?
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I started to wonder

This post explores these 3 points and will hopefully give you some ideas to consider

Hopefully, others can learn from my successes and failures of which there have been many examples of both.

The thoughts I have and the actions I’ve tried are all here.  I hope that I can establish what path I’ve followed and am still following.  My badminton coach education hasn’t always been straightforward.

I quickly realised that if it could be described as a path,
It certainly wasn’t straight and had the occasional pothole!
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My greatest influences

Here are my top 5.  Some have come to me later in my journey.  Others by accident and others intentionally.

But all have and continue to provide me with challenges and answers.

How many do you recognise from your coach development journey?
Meeting a few critically important people

As it should be this is no.1 of my influences.  Without meeting these people (3 of them) my development would have stalled and not been as broad as it became.  They weren’t that easy to find, but the benefit (selfishly to me) has been enormous.  People to challenge you, take questions from you, set an example to observe and above all else be there when you need them.

Becoming a tutor

Helping others and working with coaches has been challenging and rewarding.  Delivering the critical things the coach needs at each stage of their formal education requires consideration (how to package that information).  Plus the questions they ask are specific to them and need to be answered so that they get the benefit.  Often this is more difficult than I imagined.

Assisting others

Working as an assistant to other coaches often required me to adapt my style and delivery.  Understanding what others were trying to do and observing their methods certainly provide lots of opportunities for reflection.  There are certainly many ways to deliver similar information.  I still find it difficult to find coaches to assist or observe, would you be happy with someone new assisting you with the aim of improving themselves?

Challenging myself

Writing down questions, observations and questions, all have been a release for the thoughts in my head.  If I needed to know something and didn’t, I’d write it down.  The more I thought I knew the more questions I seemed to create.

Exploring alternatives

Examining my why has come to me later in my coaching journey.  I realised that there were many things I did, but that I’d never asked why I did them and why / when they worked.  Not always an easy task but certainly a rewarding one.  My OneNote is certainly full of questions and thoughts!

What are the current influences on your coach development?
Create a list now

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I relied too much on my governing bodies to educate me

During the last 40 years, I’ve been part of several national governing body’s Coach Education systems, both as a participant and as a coach educator.

It wasn’t that they didn’t pass on knowledge or open my mind to new ideas that certainly did happen.  I received lots of information.

However, my greatest gains in knowledge and specifically practical knowledge that I could implement came from outside of formal systems.

The information I received on Coaching (qualification) courses needed translating into why, what, when and how to act.  Those constant decisions in my head that slightly altered with each situation.  No one told me that coaching required so many decisions!

I’ve yet to hear about a badminton association that helps coaches gain the lifetime information they need.  Many seem to presume that their role is just to deliver qualifications and short CPD courses.


Don’t expect others to know what you need next in your coach education

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Taking control of my education

The idea that I could influence my coach education, specifically my badminton coach education came late to me.  Probably not for about 8 years.

At the start, I followed the assumption that qualifications were the key to knowledge and information.  It took a while to realise that they were only part of the puzzle.

After each qualification, I repeated all that I was taught in the course.  Most often without thinking about why I was coaching.  Maybe that sounds strange, but I was just repeating without really thinking.

It was only when things didn’t work as I hoped they would, players didn’t improve (in matches) and I felt struck ‘in a rut’ that things started to change.  To be honest, I was getting frustrated and bored with my coaching.

I didn’t really have a plan, I want you to know that

The biggest change came when I contacted another coach and asked if I could watch him work.  It was a selfish and risky thing to do, for me.

But from that day onwards my education started to progress, (although it didn’t feel like that).  He introduced me to 4 of those influences mentioned above.

One of the biggest takeaways was his advice about where and in what aspects I should try and gain more knowledge.  He pointed out that I already had been exposed to lots of information, but very little in how to use and adapt it.


I needed more about how to coach rather than what to coach


He also advised that I should stop copying and repeating without first thinking

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