George Fell - First Aid and Outdoor Activities - Level 5 project


There are some problems here. A load of coaching theories which we have in our heads as "dwarves and giants" type facts, which we believe because most people believe them and because they seem to work for us, turn out, when people do experiments not to be supported by those experiments. There is no firm evidence telling us how to coach, but we still need to do something.

Ask yourself, "Are we as coaches like the flat-earthers?" Now remember, they weren't being dumb. To them it was obvious that the earth is flat. I mean it looks flat! It was the orthodoxy. Everyone thought it was true. Unfortunately, that didn't mean it was true. How many of our beliefs about boating and coaching are like believing the earth is flat?

The short answer is we don't know. There's not very much research done about coaching paddlesport, and with the best will in the world, there probably never will be. So there's not much hard evidence for most of what we do. Most of how we coach is based on "dwarves and giants" type facts rather than "the earth is round" type facts

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Which brings us to the really important question;

Does any of this actually matter or is it all philosophical navel gazing?

That would depend on you.

  • If it feels irrelevant to you, and isn't going to make any difference to how you coach then it is irrelevant to you. Sorry to waste your time. Carry on doing what you've been doing!

On the other hand;

  • If your coaching flows from your beliefs about how to coach, then maybe this will make a difference to you.
  • If you were a bit hung up on some piece of coaching theory, hopefully this article will free you up to stop taking it so seriously and get out and play some more.
  • If I've created problems for you, by chipping away at some of the foundations of how we coach, or if you've just left a coaching course with a load of new and mutually contradictory ideas spinning round in your head then please read on.
On to some solutions.