The Self-Aware Coach — online learning from Deakin University via

As a coach, I often challenge the players I work with to analyse their own game; only very rarely have I turned the mirror back onto my own coaching behaviours.

So Deakin University’s ‘Self-Aware Coach’ online course, led by Paddy Upton and Dr Sharon Pittaway and hosted by FutureLearn, was an opportunity not to be missed.

The course content was exceptional, the educators informed, candid and engaged, and so many of my fellow students contributed so much via their considered Comments.

Continue reading The Self-Aware Coach — online learning from Deakin University via

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?

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

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.

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