athlete development coach development coaching cricket psychology

Player-centred coaching – can it work with 7-year olds?

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my experience of Coaching in the Knowledge Era, an online coach education course from Deakin University delivered by Paddy Upton, on

I have just completed the follow-up course, Player-Centred Coaching – just as thought-provoking, and I have been left with a lot of ideas to think about.

For me, there were perhaps two main takeaways from the course.

  1. The importance of “individual-invisible” attributes – attitudes, emotions & thoughts –  in player development.
  2. That explicit inclusion of players with some existing knowledge of their own games in review and planning phases of the learning cycle [play-review-plan-practice- and repeat] delivers more accurate review, more relevant planning, and better player buy-in to the whole process.

But perhaps, for the young players I mostly work with, direct involvement with the planning and review phases might be asking too much, just yet.

That still left me with a challenge for my own coaching practice – what strategies can I use to help the players I work with to begin to understand and develop the positive attributes in that individual-invisible sector?

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Doping: what do we know? What can coaches do?

Does cricket have a problem doping?  Specifically, with the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)?  I would have said not, until I read this article from Andy Bull, in the Guardian from November 2017.  And then, last week, another piece on doping in cricket, this time from Tim Wigmore in the Daily Telegraph (subscription item).

So it was quite timely that I attended the inaugural lecture of Professor James Skinner, recently appointed as the Director of the Institute for Sport Business at Loughborough University London.

Professor Skinner and his colleagues have carried out a number of  research projects investigating perceptions of and attitudes towards doping in sport – public, athletes & coaches, dopers, young athletes.

And he has come to the conclusion that knowing why athletes dope is at least as important as knowing how when trying to devise appropriate counter-measures.

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Performance development is not just for “performance” athletes – podcast with Mark Bennett & Stuart Armstrong

Fascinating podcast from Stuart Armstrong with Mark Bennett MBE, founder of PDS (Performance Development Systems) .

Lots of take-aways for coaches from this, and their earlier podcast, not least the definition of “performance” as a behaviour or “state of being”, rather than a standard. For a coach working mostly with “participation” or “community” players, that means I could help them to develop appropriate performance behaviours to carry them onwards through their future careers, sporting or otherwise.