Characteristics Of The Different Coaching Streams
Each type of coach has an important role to play in the Canadian sport system, and contributes in a unique way to the development of participants/athletes under his or her care. It is sometimes difficult to establish a clear distinction between the three coaching streams; in effect, there is an overlap between some of their roles and responsibilities. However, their coaching environments also differ in some important ways, especially with regard to the needs of the participants/athletes with whom they work.
The general characteristics of the coaching streams and contexts of the new NCCP structure are briefly described in the following pages.
As a general rule, the characteristics of coaches working in the area of Instruction are the following:
• Their primary responsibility is to teach sport-specific skills.
• They intervene with participants of various proficiency levels.
• They intervene primarily in noncompetitive programs.
Three contexts of certification will apply for this stream, based on the proficiency level of the participants. (We will not use the Advanced Performers context in archery. That level will be covered within the competition stream)
Instruction - Beginners: This type of instructor teaches basic skills to individuals with very little or no experience in the sport or the activity. He/she deals with a limited number of participants at a time, and focuses on the fundamentals of the activity with an emphasis on safety.
Instruction - Intermediate performers: This type of instructor helps participants refine basic skills, and introduces a variety of more complex techniques to individuals who already have some experience in the sport and who already exhibit a fair degree of proficiency in the activity. He/she provides more “customized” instruction based on the individual performance characteristics of each participant, and would be expected to manage bigger groups. An instructor working with intermediate performers is expected to be fairly knowledgeable in all matters related to the selection and adjustment of equipment. He/she may also act in a supervisory capacity for coaches working with beginners.
As a general rule, the characteristics of coaches working in the Competition stream are the following:
• They work in programs where athletes seek to achieve a performance.
• They provide support to athletes in areas such as technical, physical, tactical and mental preparation.
• They provide support to athletes in both training and competitive conditions.
• They work towards improving the athletes’ competitive abilities
• They work to develop athletes over the long term.
• They use sport as a means of developing the individual in a holistic fashion.
• They teach values through sport.
• They help athletes become as good they can be.
• They create conditions whereby sport is a positive experience and the athletes’ self-esteem is enhanced.
Three contexts of certification will apply for this stream, each reflecting key objectives pertaining to the athlete’s long-term development and proficiency level.
Competition - Introduction: These coaches will, for the most part, be working with children, preadolescents or adolescents. They will teach basic skills and tactics, and prepare athletes for lower-Ievel competitions. Athletes train on a seasonal basis to improve their general fitness level. Fun is an important part of the athletes’ sport experience.
Specialization is not a priority at this stage, and sport provides an opportunity to teach values and develop social skills. Example: Volunteer club coach; coach of athletes who begin competition; coach of athletes who train and compete on a seasonal basis.
Competition - Development: Most of these coaches work with adolescents and young adults. Developmental coaches help athletes refine basic skills and tactics, teach more advanced skills and tactics, and prepare them for provincial or national level competitions. Athletes train several times a week on an annual basis to improve performance. Although having a good time remains an important part of the athletes’ sport experience, the outcome of competitions is of greater importance, as athletes may have to meet predetermined performance standards. Event/discipline specialization and fitness also become important at this stage. Sport at this level provides an opportunity to teach values and ethics, and refine social skills. Example: Coach of a regional or provincial team that trains year round; Canada Games coach; college or university coach.
Competition - High Performance: As a general rule, these coaches work with athletes between the ages of 20 - 35. They help athletes refine advanced sport skills and tactics, and prepare them for national or international level competitions. Athletes perform a high volume of specialized training on an annual basis in order to improve or maintain performance. Although having a good time remains an important part of the athletes’ sport experience, the outcome of competitions becomes very important. The athletes endeavor to reach their full potential and to attain world-class performance levels. At this level, sport provides an opportunity to implement values, and demonstrate social skills and ethics. Example: Coach of athletes who compete internationally; coach of professional athletes; national team coach.