The applied nature of coaching and the difficulties of establishing cause and effect when evaluating coaching practice have been well documented. Despite growth and development over the last 20 years there still needs to be more studies that investigate the problems and challenges of practice. Sports coaches do not learn from theory alone but use multiple interconnected learning experiences, yet still encounter obstacles when translating theory to practice or practice to theory. This can be manifest in indecision in training and competition environments. For example, how do coaches test and tweak theory and practice, and how do they choose which tool to use in a particular situation? Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the need for a well-educated, well-informed, and appropriately professional coaching workforce. However, how do they support those coaches in their development? For example, are coaches taught how to reflect effectively? Think critically? Or make judgments and decisions? Do they have access to mentors? Or are they involved in communities of practice? What is the role of the coach developer in this process?
The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) has developed professional standards for coach developers and coaches at different levels. This context is important in the application of theory to practice. What does the translation of theory into practice look like for the professional coach? In different sports? In talent development or community programmes? How do coach developers stress the importance of context in applied practice?
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