What will sports coaching look like in 20 years?
How will a training session differ in 2030 to a training session in 2010?
How will our coaching have changed, improved and evolved over the next 20 years?
It will have changed so much that it will be barely recognisable.
The future is already here. And it is a scary place for those living in the past.
Are you ready for it? Will you race towards it? Will you resist it?
Where is the world heading?
To see where Sports Coaching is going – look at where the world is going:
- People can access just about any information, anywhere, anytime and for free;
- People are happy to share ideas, information and innovations with their colleagues, friends and the public on line for free;
- People have unprecedented access to learning tools, articles, on-line video, slide presentations, audio files and research journals – and mostly for free;
- People are adopting a “do it yourself” approach to many things – look at the abundance of TV shows, web sites, blogs and on line information available on any topic – average, ordinary people are becoming experts at all things;
- People are happy to work cross disciplinary and “have a go” at things, rather than seek the opinions and views of experts and professionals.
Coaching knowledge – is – for all intents and purposes – worthless.
When what you have is easily and freely available to everyone – it is worthless.
How much would diamonds be worth it you could find them anywhere, anytime and they were as common as ordinary pebbles? They might still look great, sparkle in the sun, be incredibly useful but they would be worth nothing.
And your coaching knowledge – all those “secret” training sets, all those “unique training systems”, all those “miracle plays” that you have built your coaching career around….are also worth nothing. Scary.
Don’t believe me?
Go to YouTube – www.youtube.com and search for videos demonstrating the skills of your sport. Off you go – I’ll wait right here.
OK – you’re back. What did you find out?
That many of the techniques, strategies and ideas of your sport are now available free on-line, anytime, anywhere for anyone and for free?
Funny about that. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
Even very traditional sports like martial arts – where techniques have been kept within a close circle of experts and handed down through traditional teaching methods and structured learning environments are freely available in video form at YouTube. And people are using YouTube to learn martial arts – and piano and Greek and Tennis and how to build a fence and how to service a car……………..the knowledge you need to be an expert is everywhere – and it’s free.
So you might counter my argument with a yesbut – a “Yes, but…” and try to convince me that your sport is different, that athletes need coaches, that the people doing the free YouTube videos about your sport are not the best people, that your sport is a people sport…..yada, yada, yada – I have heard them all.
People don’t care what or who is providing the information – only that they can get it right now and for free.
The average person does not care about the quality of the source or their qualifications or the University they studied at – they just want the information, they want it now, they want it to look good, they want to feel it is pitched at a level they can understand and they don’t want to pay for it.
If you want to know where sports coaching will be in 20 years – the starting point is to ask yourself these three questions:
- What do I have to offer my clients (athletes, players) other than knowledge of the sport, e.g. skills, drills, tactics, strategies, physical preparation techniques because anyone get these things anywhere, anytime for free!
- What will my clients need in 20 years that only I can provide, i.e. accepting that your knowledge is no longer what your clients will need.
- What unique talents, gifts and abilities do I possess that will ensure my coaching future – again apart from what I know?
OK, OK – there will be some of you thinking, “That’s all very interesting, but that will not happen in my sport. My sport is different”.
Try to get your head around this then.
Sport…..it’s only one very small part of a very big world.
Sport – as an institution and as an industry – represents about 1% of that big box we call society.
And the most popular sport in the world – football (soccer) makes up the vast majority of that 1%.
So your sport – particularly if it is one of the traditional Olympic sports like swimming, track and field, field hockey, rowing, cycling etc makes up a fraction of the institution which is sport.
We know that trends in some of the big institutions like health, like education, like the environment, like energy and like communications are all heading towards the open sharing of ideas, collaborative research methods and the collective sharing of knowledge, information and experiences.
So hanging to the “my sport will not change” thinking is like trying to hold back the Ocean with one grain of sand…..it is futile.
And the reason is simple.
All sports coaching education and training programs are content based. We bring coaches together for a day or two, we throw lots and lots of content, ideas, information and sports specific knowledge at them, assess their ability to learn and apply that knowledge and call them “coaches”.
Now think about Sports Coaching 2030 – If knowledge is worthless and ideas and information are available anytime, anywhere and for free, who is going to go to a coaching course? No one! No one unless sports coach educators completely change they way they go about educating and developing coaches.
- To steal a line from the environmental warriors –“think global; act local”. Be aware of world wide trends in communication, in education and in the way ideas, information and innovations are being discussed and shared but make it relevant to your own program, your own coaching and your own philosophies;
- You can’t change the world – but you can change your world – and you can achieve this by being open to the possibilities and embracing of the new opportunities provided by the acceleration of learning that is currently possible;
- Imagine a world where knowledge is worthless and your current beliefs about gaining a competitive edge being in “what” you know are wrong…..how will you be a successful coach? How will you continue to find a performance edge for your athletes and players?
In future posts I will discuss the amazing opportunities that the future presents..for those who are ready for it.