How well do you know your members? And more importantly, how will you find new ones? Why people choose specific sports and how they access them is a major focus for sports body Sport England with learnings that cross borders. The story so far.

Sport England has been busy building a picture of when, where and how people want to access their sport, in order to create an informed and relevant Coaching Plan for England.

Working groups have already highlighted a number of the changes needed to provide an attractive and good-value coaching proposition. Now, the body is examining specific challenges which it believes must be met in order to grow participation. These include:

  • Defining the different coaching roles and functions.
  • Understanding females who want to play and coach.
  • Examining approaches to coach training.
  • Considering methods for skilful deployment and ongoing support.
  • Better understanding the role of technology to improve the customer and coach experience

Crucially important to the outcome is examining how coaches can improve playing experiences and how to keep people playing. Mechanics for this include:

  • Understanding the needs and motivations of the individual.
  • Offering flexible coaching formats which fit people’s lifestyles.
  • Applying emotional intelligence through activities.
  • Committing to interaction with people who play between activity sessions.
  • Recognising how digital tools can make sport’s experience more meaningful.

What can clubs do to help this process?
Whatever country you’re reading this in, the questions asked of English clubs stands as a relevant yardstick for all clubs across the globe. When you talk with colleagues from across your organisation and the sector about supporting people to coach or be coached, think through the following questions:

  • What do you know about the customer journey for your target audience(s), and what sort of coaching will keep them coming back?
  • Can you provide a profile of your coaching workforce, particularly regarding their motivation to coach and their skills from the world beyond sport?
  • Could people who want to coach your sport be offered a simpler and more attractive path?
  • Where will you look for people to coach, mentor and train your workforce over the next five years?
  • What research will you invest in to identify the coaching behaviours that have the greatest impact on playing behaviours of your priority audience?
  • What plans do you have to collaborate with other sports organisations with whom you have shared priority audiences?
  • What are the digital tools that will make your activities more relevant to your priority audience over the next five years?

Answering these may be time consuming but they’ll form an important part of your successful future plans, so will be time well spent.

Article published in Clubhouse Europe issue 8