Ian Barker: I think increasingly globally and certainly domestically US soccer and the NSCAA (Now United Coaches) it’s a little bit more candidate centric if you will, to the point where we don’t even refer to people on our courses as instructors and candidates, we actually refer to us all as coaches and there are staff coaches and coaches. I think it’s increasingly a common idea that it’s presumptuous for any of us, especially an American coach education, to assume that we know what is best for the coach because we aren’t in his/her other environment. We obviously have an incredible diversity of coaches with ethnic backgrounds, language skills, and socio-economic opportunities for their players. Then everybody comes onto courses from professional coaches down to grassroots, so I think what we’re really looking at is at giving good information, good support and then really working with the coach to try to put it into his or her context, so they can apply this knowledge in a logical and useful way as opposed to be given education which really doesn’t help them in their environment.
Justkickin’ it Podcast: I feel like sometimes with education, the educators have a lot of pressure put on them to make me learn. I’m the coach, I come to the course for a couple days and I expect you to do all that you can to help me and something that’s not talked about is what I have to do. How do I get prepared to come and be ready to learn and share and have all these things happen over the course of five days? So, what do you think are the biggest mistakes coaches make when they go to a coach education course?
IB: Well I think you hit on a very common one that is we’ve come now, save the world, give us the silver bullet and give us the answer. I still think there are many coaches that come with that expectation and so they’re looking for you to do everything for them but as the coaches get a little bit younger, it’s only relative to some of our staff but more technologically savvy, more exposed to the global game I think they come with greater experience set, and so I find that increasingly they’re more willing to share and they get very excited, pretty quickly, even if they came with a preconceived notion that we’ve been to everything for them. They get pretty excited if they’re empowered to give their opinions to show what they know, to do their best. I think increasingly, that aspect is getting better. I would say that if people come to coaching courses, hopefully the contents halfway decent. Hopefully the instructors are decent but again to your point, the candidate has to come with a real open mind and also be willing to say I’m going to take this bit but I’m actually going to ignore this bit or put this bit you know in a folder for later. I think we have increasingly more discerning and experienced people coming in and so I think overall the learning experiences are getting better and better.
JKP: Ian, as an educator do you have a hard time or do you find it difficult to break down some of the habits, behaviours and experiences or traditions that come into the classroom with some of these candidates, as they begin a coaching education journey?
IB: Yeah, certainly. We’ve sort of got a Northern European/Western European educational traditional model where there’s somebody at the front of the classroom, there’s somebody at the front of the field session and then everybody else’s is pretty much cannon fodder absorbing. So, many of our coaches still come expecting that physical environment, where there’s a series of desks and they’re lined up and what we’re doing a lot more in the classroom is we’re getting people up in front, we’re having them collaborate in groups, we’re having roundtable sessions. The instructor is not necessarily at the front of the classroom, so it’s more of a facilitation type environment. I would argue that that sometimes it’s probably some of our slightly older candidates that struggle with that environment. So, the icebreakers you know, everybody feels a bit weird about an icebreaker but most of the time when someone has done it they generally like it. I do find that increasingly some of my younger coaches, male and female, are actually the dominant individuals when we go into group sessions, group work because there’s a certain vitality to them and they have more experience of a of a blended educational experience, as opposed to a more traditional, like I say Northern European lecture style environment.