Was thinking about the term ‘athlete-centred coaching’ (ACC) during a bit of reflection this morning following a discussion with a swim coach. Have been considering what this actually means and how a coach will decide whether to be ‘athlete-centred’. I personally consider ACC to be philosophically driven by a coaches epistemological beliefs (beliefs of how we come to knowledge). Specifically, ACC seems to align with a constructivist epistemology, whereby knowledge is constructed (often socially and mutually). Whereas a positivist epistemology would be more aligned to that of a didactic and potentially more autocratic style of coaching that does not seem compatible to that of an athlete-centred coach.
This also got me thinking about the disparity within sport, in regards to how coaches coach. Can there realistically be a standardised and prescribed method of coaching that accounts for all epistemological beliefs? I would guess no. However a lot of coach education courses are rigid and prescribed, indicating a bias towards a particular way of coaching. I think, for more experienced coaches, we should encourage a more exploratory and reflective approach to CPD and further accreditation, particularly using principles of action research to encourage ‘experiential researchers’ which is how i have come to describe reflective practitioners (as grounding their reflection in experiential evidence). However, another question is how would a more exploratory and reflective approach to further accreditation be perceived by the coach with a more positivist epistemological beliefs? Can there be an acceptable outcome given the disparity in beliefs regarding how knowledge is developed?