Your learning edge

Using your learning edge

Part 2 – Your learning edge

Jeff Mitchell – Community Sport Advisor – Sport Auckland

In our first article we discussed how learning is not just about gaining knowledge, but rather about improvement. It is about finding new solutions and achieving competency at a task. It is also about identifying what you don’t currently know or are unaware of. In this article we will look at the learning cycle, the learning zones, and how to set goals that require you to operate at your learning edge. Continue reading

Questioning to develop skill

Questioning to develop skill

Jeff Mitchell – Community Sport Advisor – Sport Auckland

Questioning is an effective tool for developing players. We know that to execute a skill players need to combine the correct technique with an appropriate decision of when and how to use it, all the while evaluating the current situation. Players are constantly making decisions during competition, making it impossible for you to tell your players what to do in every situation that they face. You can, however, help your players to develop their ability to solve the problems these situations pose, helping you to develop independent players.

There are several tools that you can use to develop the skill of your players, including instruction, feedback, conditioned games and video analysis. Another highly effective tool is the use of questioning, which will be the focus of this article. We will look at how you can use questioning as a tool to develop your players’ skill, why you should be asking questions, the different purposes of questions related to skill development, and the types of questions that you can ask. Continue reading

Recommended coaching books

While there is no substitute for experience, it is important as a coach to keep increasing your knowledge of the craft. Books are still a good resource for doing this. They are a source of information, provide you with alternative viewpoints, and can challenge you to examine how you currently operate. In this section I will be providing a number of books that cover a range of coaching topics. Continue reading

Learning and coaching

Using your learning edge

Part 1 – Learning and coaching

Jeff Mitchell – Community Sport Advisor – Sport Auckland

Coaching is the process of helping athletes to grow and develop in order to reach their potential. To do this well requires a focus on learning – of both the coach and the athlete. In our new series of articles we are going to examine the learning process and how you can use it to increase your coaching effectiveness. Continue reading

Coaching books

It is important to keep learning about the craft of coaching so that you keep improving your delivery. There are a range of ways that you can gain information – online through sources such as google and twitter, by watching DVD’s, through observing and talking to other coaches, and by trying things out and then reflecting on the result. An older method is by reading books. Even with the range of technology available to us today, we should not forget the use of a good old-fashioned book for learning about how we can coach. Continue reading

Coaching philosophy

Coaching philosophy

Jeff Mitchell – Community Sport Advisor – Sport Auckland

It can be challenging being a coach. You are constantly being asked to make decisions which impact not only yourself but also your athletes and your team. You need to find a balance between player development and winning, and you need to meet the needs of your athletes. Doing these effectively, in a consistent manner, requires that you are clear on your coaching philosophy.

This article looks at what a coaching philosophy is, why you need to have one written down, how you write one, and how you then use it. Continue reading

Taking charge of your coach development – Part 13

Part 13 – Wrap up

Jeff Mitchell – Community Coach Advisor – Sport Auckland / GACU

This is the thirteenth and final article in a series of 13 on developing your coaching skills. For the full list of articles in the series see the articles page.

In our Taking charge of your coach development series we have looked at how you can take a structured approach to improving your coaching skills. We have covered a lot of ground in discussing the different options available and presented examples of how to put the ideas in to practice. In this final article in the series we will look at how it all ties together in a Coach Development Plan and what to do once you have worked through your first full development cycle. Continue reading

Mentoring for Coach Development

Mentoring for Coach Development

The following is a paper I wrote a few years ago regarding the role of mentoring within coach development.


Mentoring occurs when a coach works with another coach to help them to change their practice for the better (Layton & Australian Sports Commission., 2002). The following report will discuss the use of mentoring to develop coaches, the roles that a mentor takes on and some guidelines for creating an effective mentor-coach relationship. Continue reading