Putting theory into practice – or not?

Image: Panthermedia
Image: Panthermedia

FAU sports scientists investigate how guidelines used in coach training are put into practice

Everyone knows that there can be considerable differences between expectations and reality. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has high expectations of the future trainers and coaches in its training programme. But are the requirements from the training programme actually put into practice? FAU’s Chair of Education in Sport aims to find out.

Nowadays in competitive sport – be it at the German championships or in the Olympics – the athletes with the best technical abilities do not necessarily win. A strong mind, as well as the right social environment and optimal support can also be crucial factors in triumph or defeat. For coaches this means that they need to do more than simply pass on their technical knowledge to their students. They must create an environment for their athletes that is adapted to meet their psychological and social needs. ‘Nowadays coaches need to have a wide range of professional and personal skills,’ explains Sebastian Liebl from FAU’s Chair of Education in Sport. ‘Coaches must be able to reflect on and, if necessary, adapt their behaviour in order to increase their athletes’ motivation to reach the top level, for example.  They must also work together with other coaches, sports scientists and other specialists and include them effectively in the performance development process.’

In the DOSB’s training documentation and at its coach academy in Cologne, both of these components – the professional and the personal level – are required to be developed to a relatively high skill level. This was verified by Liebl and Prof. Dr. Ralf Sygusch, Chair of Education in Sport, in two previous expert reports. The coach training programme is therefore very demanding – at least on paper. ‘However, based on research we know that the required skills are never fully implemented in practice,’ explains Liebl. For this reason, FAU sports scientists are now investigating whether and how member associations implement the requirements from the DOSB training programme in reality in the project ‘Qualifizierung im DOSB: Trainer/-in Leistungssport zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit’ (QuaTro – Qualification in the DOSB: expectation and reality for competitive sport coaches).

To answer these questions the working group is looking at the current situation in the first stage of its research. In co-operation with four national associations (Deutscher Hockey Bund, Deutscher Skiverband, Deutscher Judobund, and Deutscher Alpenverein – the German associations for hockey, skiing, judo and mountain sports) the researchers are examining training documents, making video observations of coach training being carried out, and interviewing the people in charge of training. The aim is to allow them to identify any discrepancies between expectations and reality, and to gain a better understanding of the reasons behind them. In the second stage of their research the sports scientists will be working with the partner organisations to design concepts for quality development for coach training programmes in Germany.

The project is part of the Campus für Wissenstransfer und Evaluationsforschung (WEBS – Campus for knowledge transfer and evaluation research) at FAU’s Chair of Education in Sport. It is being funded by the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp).

Further information:

Dr. Sebastian Liebl
Phone: +49 9131 8569895

Addition information