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sports coaching

Tackling bad behaviour H

ave you ever seen a parent heckling young players or shouting abuse from the side lines at a children’s sporting event? It is uncomfortable to watch but more worryingly it can have a devastating impact on the young players, their self-esteem and

their enjoyment of their sport. The national coaching agency, sports coach UK, has been working to address this problem for some time and offers good quality training to support coaches in dealing with unacceptable behaviour. As part of a strategy to expand the training available, sports coach UK worked with Sponge UK to create e-learning aimed at promoting a positive pitch-side environment for children.

Louise Pasterfield looks at how e-learning is being used to challenge pitch-side behaviour and create a safer environment for children who play sport.

Ensuring all children have a safe and fun experience in sport is the best way to ensure they remain engaged with, and eventually successful in, sport and physical activity…

Diversify The team at sports coach UK wanted a Positive Sports Parent module to be included for the first time in its new e-learning course called Renewal: Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport. The module would have to complement the existing education programme and fit in with the busy lives of coaches who are mainly volunteers, juggling work and their coaching commitments. Parents involved in sport would also be doing the training. “The development of the e-learning is part of our plan to diversify ways of providing learning to meet the needs of coaches in the UK today,” explains David Turner, Development Lead Officer for Children and Schools at sports coach UK. “Bite-sized learning inspires best practice in coaching and can be embedded in any coach education programme, helping coaches get up to speed quickly, anytime and anywhere.”


The new e-learning would need to draw on material and concepts already familiar to the coaches. The aim was to boost existing learning and also offer guidance that could be reviewed by the coaches as needed, perhaps several times a year. Sponge UK had to balance the complex and sensitive nature of the subject matter with the requirement for bite-size training. The resulting module was just 30 minutes long – short enough to be manageable but long enough to explore the issue in some depth.

Curate A lot of great content had already been created on the subject and one of the challenges was to curate the material and include the best and most relevant within the module. The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), which is a

Feedback from learners

n “Appropriate length of time to complete and very engaging.” n “Fantastic course – keeps you up to date with good practice.” n “Very educational and much needed when coaching children.”

e.learning age april 2015


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