My name is Keith Lyons. I am a Professor of Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.

I think of myself as an educational technologist.

Clyde Street

Quarter Final Penalty Shoot Outs at #AC2015



Two of the four quarter finals at the 2015 Asian Cup Tournament were decided by penalty shoot outs.

Both shoot outs were won by teams with a lower Elo Rating than their opponents: Iraq (v Iran); UAE (v Japan).

Iraq and the UAE took the second penalties in their games.

Iraq v Iran


The sequence of penalties in this game was:


An AFC video of the shoot out is available here. The Iraq penalties 5 and 8 appear to be good examples of goalkeeper dependent penalties.

UAE v Japan


The sequence of penalties in this game was:


An AFC video of the shoot out is available here. The first UAE penalty appears to be another example of a goalkeeper dependent penalty.

Photo Credits

Frame grabs from AFC videos (Iraq, UAE)

Performance at #AC2015: Group Games




This post follows the format I used to report on the Asian Cup Group Games in 2011.

The data I am using for 2015 are available here. They are secondary data extracted from the official website.

Goal Scoring

61 goals were scored in the 24 Group Games in the 2015 Asian Cup.

The team that scored first won in 20 and lost in 4 of the Group Games. There were no drawn games in the Group Games in 2015.

The four games that were the exceptions to the team scoring first and winning: Kuwait (v Australia); Qatar (v UAE); DPR Korea (v Saudi Arabia); Uzbekistan (v China).

Performance in Relation to Elo Ratings

19 of the 24 Group Games were won by teams with a higher Elo Rating compared to their opponents.

The exceptions were: DPR Korea (v Saudi Arabia); Uzbekistan (v China); Jordan (v Iraq); Australia (v Korea Republic); Qatar (v Bahrain).

DPR Korea and Uzbekistan scored first in their respective games.

Goal Scorers

A list of goal scorers in the 2015 Asian Cup Group Games can be found here.

The 61 goals were scored in the following game intervals:

GC Goals AC15


The Group Games were refereed by:

Referees GC AC15

There were three red cards given by referees in Group Games. Two of these were after a second yellow card. Ri Jong-yik (DPR Korea) was sent off in the 76th minute for a red card offence in the game against Saudi Arabia.

Photo Credit

IMG_1082 (Nasya Bahfen, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Finding, Losing and Re-Finding Balance




I receive a daily RSS feed from the Scholarly Kitchen blog.

Today, I was alerted to David Crotty‘s discussion of ecosystems. His post included a video about the reintroduction of wolves in the Yellowstone National Park.

David observed:

The reintroduction of a small number of wolves changed not only the population levels of the deer, but their behaviors as well, which set off a complex trophic cascade, impacting animals from song birds to bears, greatly altering plant life and even reaching so far as to impact the physical geography of the park.

This observation took me to look at trophic cascades

I found myself thinking about change in performance environment ecologies in sport.


I have had the good fortune to spend some time with twenty expert coaches over the last two years. We have been talking about their coaching and the environments they are creating. All twenty coaches are employed in professional sport. My hope is that they are able to plan for and deliver systems that support athlete and their own flourishing.

My interest in their experiences has been focused by the ecology literature. Today’s discussion of wolves has added to that dynamic.

In other posts on Clyde Street I have discussed player-led performance environments. One of the key issues for me is the timing of the empowerment of athletes to transform learning and performance. The decision to change an ecological system is this kind of activity too but on a grander scale.

Perhaps sport can learn from evidence of trophic cascades as well as from autobiographical and biographical accounts of coaching and playing.


Losing Balance

An editorial in Nature in 2014 suggested:

Ecological complexity, which may seem like an impenetrable thicket of nuance, is also the source of much of our pleasure in nature. If ecosystems were simple puzzles that all worked in the same way, they would lose much of their mystery, their surprise and their beauty. A lot of conservation work aims to protect the complexity and variability that makes ecosystems so hard to understand, and indeed to conserve.

Emma Morris (2014) pursued this discussion of ecological complexity in the context of Yellowstone Park. She questions the role wolves have played in the transformation of the Park.

I liked her concluding remarks about the evidence for predator-led ecological change:

Many researchers have doubts. They worry that tales of predators shaping their ecosystems are so attractive that they have unrivalled control over discourse. “Everyone likes to think of the big wolf or the big bear looking after the environment,” says Allen. “We do love a good story.”

This led me to think about those clubs in professional sports who appoint coaches with reputations for a particular kind of assertive behaviour.

Andy Dobson’s (2014) paper adds to the discussion of what happens when other factors are taken into account when monitoring change in ecosystems. He concludes that:

Ecology’s mathematical problems are as complex as anything in physics, and their solutions are required with increasing urgency, particularly if we want to test these assumptions and predictions against viable natural ecosystems.

Emma and Andy, amongst others,  suggest that there are alternatives to top down change models.



In a recent paper, Chris Wagstaff and his colleagues (2015) look at the impact of organisational change on sport medicine and sport science personnel in three professional sport settings. Their data “highlight salient emotional, behavioral, and attitudinal experiences of medics and scientists, the existence of poor employment practices, and direct and indirect implications for on-field performance following organizational change”.
I wondered if their investigations are a contribution to the comments made by Oswald Schmitz and his colleagues noted by Emma Morris:

His own smaller-scale work on invertebrates has convinced him that neither bottom-up nor top-down theories adequately capture the story of ecosystems. He is starting to look at the middle players, such as elk, beavers and grass-eating grasshoppers. These herbivores, he says, integrate influences from both the top (such as predation pressure) and the bottom (such as the nutritional quality of plants). “It is not really bottom-up or top-down but trophic cascades from the middle out,” he says. “That is where we will evolve. It is knowing what the middle guy is going to do that gives you the predictive ability.”

Perhaps the most successful top down agents in sport are those who can mitigate the impact of change on others in the system.
It is difficult though for high profile appointments in sport to work within existing structures. Reflection on trophic cascades might help change this.
There might be a middle ground.

Photo Credits

A Top 14 Orange Day in the Aviva Premiership



Last weekend saw the completion of Top 14 Orange Round 16 in France and the Aviva Premiership Round 13 in England.

It was business as usual in France.

There were seven home wins, two by lower ranked teams (Stade Francais and Oyonnax) over higher ranked opponents from 2013-2014. (Gold indicated lower ranked team win and red a higher ranked team’s loss. Green and blue are anticipated wins and losses.)

T14 16

For the first time in the 2014-2015 season, the Aviva premiership teams followed their French counterparts’ leads. There were six home wins.


Four lower ranked teams (Harlequins, Sale, Gloucester and London Irish) defeated higher ranked opponents from the 2013-2014 season.

Photo Credit

Try – Christian Wade (Peter Dean, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

#AC2015 Performance Against Elo Ratings in the Group Games



I monitored the Group Stage of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar in 2011.

My data are here.

At that time I used the FIFA Rankings to monitor the progress of the participating teams.

This year I am using Elo Ratings.

In 2015, seven of the eight games played in Round 1 of the Group games were won by higher Elo rated teams. The exception was Jordan’s defeat by Iraq.

Australia and the UAE went 1v0 down against their lower rated opponents (Kuwait and Qatar respectively) but won their games.

Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, China, Iran and Japan have all won their games scoring first.

Jordan lost 0v1 against Iraq who started the Tournament three Elo rating places below Jordan (separated by 11 points).

Photo Credit

This somewhat fail panorama (L, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

#AC2015: Elo Ratings



The 2015 Asian Cup kicks off this evening in Melbourne.

Australia plays Kuwait in the opening game of the tournament.

The schedule of games is here. The final takes place on 31 January.

There are four groups in the competition. The Elo Ratings of the teams in the groups are:

Group A

48 Australia

55 Korea Republic

73 Oman

79 Kuwait

Group B

48 Uzbekistan

66 China

77 DPR Korea

89 Saudi Arabia

Group C

42 Iran

50 UAE

64 Qatar

95 Bahrain

Group D

29 Japan

82 Jordan

85 Iraq

129 Palestine

This is my record of the 2011 Asian Cup held in Qatar.

Here are some other links to the Tournament:

#AC2015 Facebook

Twitter #AC2015


Google +

Photo Credit

Tranquil Sunset (jensen2k, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Ian Freeman Guest Post: Teaching and Coaching Accelerator Programme



IFI was introduced to Ian Freeman earlier this year. I am delighted that we did meet and were able to explore our shared interests in teaching, coaching and learning. I have written about Ian’s work at ASA/British swimming.

This guest blog post shares some of Ian’s work with teachers and coaches. I think it is a fascinating account of teacher and coach learning opportunities. I hope you enjoy it too.

A Teaching and Coaching Accelerator Programme


Research has shown that Teacher and Coach quality is one of the most important factors influencing participant achievement and retention at all levels.

The ASA High Performing – Teacher / Coach Accelerator Programme (TCAP) incorporates and implements the key aspects of the UK Coaching Framework (UKCF) and the subsequent International Sport Coaching Framework (ISCF) developed by the International Council for Coaching Excellence. These align directly to the ASA’s original Development Framework for Coaching in England (The Development Framework).

The TCAP aligns with the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Coaching and the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Common Coaching Units. TCAP shapes and directs the ASA’s continuing promotion of coach development, ongoing learning and subsequent excellence, contributing to the improvement of outcomes for all participants, in all disciplines and in all environments.

The ASA recognises that coaches are mainly volunteers but are also highly dedicated and continually strive to improve outcomes for their participants. Professional learning (i.e. ongoing non-course based learning) is seen as a key means of ensuring that British Swimming coaches have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to provide participants with world class education and development opportunities.

The TCAP has been developed to compliment the implementation of ASA’s Development Framework and has incorporated the outcomes from analysis of national and international coach competency systems and widespread research into what constitutes high performing teaching and coaching practices. The initial TCAP Technical Guidelines document provides the means by which coaching excellence is identified, rewarded and celebrated.

The Technical Guidelines articulate standards of high performing coaches working within the identified ASA Key Coaching Environments e.g. Beginner, Talent or High Performance. The Technical Guidelines also outline the varying degrees of effectiveness coaches demonstrate when applying their professional knowledge, skills and attributes to their specific coaching context.


By providing explicit standards that guide coaches in their work to improve participant’s achievement, the TCAP is proving to be a valuable tool for increasing industry confidence in ASA’s coaching system.

This learning direction emphasises that the aquatic coaching profession requires coaches to be life-long learners who engage in ongoing, coach driven professional learning throughout the course of their careers.

The research and development of this learning programme provides the coaching workforce with a description that establishes agreed dimensions of effective coaching in all environments and in all coaching roles, and offers a common reference point for professional reflection, discussion and action.

Professional reflection is central to improving coach standards and supporting the development of career pathways.


The TCAP is a tool for coaches to:

  • Reflect on their professional effectiveness
  • Determine and prioritise areas for professional growth
  • Identify professional learning opportunities
  • Assist their personal and career development planning

It has been developed in order to:

  • Promote and support a world leading coaching workforce by identifying knowledge, skills and attributes that characterise excellence in coaching practice. Understanding what high performing coaches in all environments and all roles know, do and value is an important step in enhancing the profile and standing of the profession
  • Give coaches a tool that outlines a continuum of abilities and responsibilities central to professional excellence. This enables coaches to make informed decisions about the direction of their professional learning as they aspire to a higher level of performance (in their specified coaching environment/domain
  • Identify knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to assist practicing coaches move along their chosen career path
  • Raise the quality of coaching in England potentially in all sports by providing coaches in all environments with a learning system that supports their efforts to improve their professional practice, thereby enhancing participant experiences and outcomes
  • Provide direction in order to continue to developing programmes that ensure the development of high performing coaches in all environments, all roles and in all disciplines

What We Mean By the Terms “Teaching” and “Coaching”?

There is much debate in relation to the definitions of the term ‘Coach’ in the sporting environment. Instead of focusing on the myriad of potentially different skills associated with each role in an attempt to define these roles, the ASA has taken an environment specific approach to defining the role of Teacher compared to that of a Coach.


An ASA / UKCC (United Kingdom Coaching Certificate) qualified person who facilitates the development (physical, social, emotional, intellectual and technical) of participants operating in the BEGINNER Environment.

The ‘Beginner’ environment refers to those who are part of an organised programme that aims to allow the individual to move effectively and have confidence in the water. This environment predominantly incorporates children under the age of 7 years, however also encompasses all people learning to swim and includes infants, pre-school aged toddlers / children and adults.

The Beginner environment is linked to the ASA Athlete Development Support Pathway (ADSP) Framework and aligns with the FUNdamentals (Basic Movement Literacy) stage.

The Teaching roles operating within the ASA Beginner environment include:

  • Support Teacher
  • Teacher
  • Senior Teacher


An ASA / UKCC qualified person who facilitates the development (physical, social, emotional, intellectual, technical and tactical) of participants operating in the Talent Development and / or High Performance Environment.

The ASA ‘Talent Development’ environment refers to all individuals who are part of a registered club whose structure form part of an athlete development pathway. This environment incorporates the disciplines of: Swimming; Diving; Synchronised Swimming and Water Polo.

The Talent Development environment is linked to the ASA Athlete Development Support Pathway Framework and aligns with three distinct levels of physiological and intellectual development:

  1. Skill Development (Learning to Train)
  2. Competitive Development (Training to Train)
  3. Performance Development (Training to Compete)

The Coaching roles operating within the Talent Development environment include:

  • Support Coach
  • Coach
  • Senior Coach

The ASA ‘High Performance’ environment refers to all individuals who perform at major international events. Within this environment we have the sub-environments of: Swimming; Diving; Synchronised Swimming; Water Polo and Open Water Swimming.

This environment is linked to the ASA Athlete Development Support Pathway Framework and incorporates the Training to Win stage of development.

The Coaching roles operating within the HIGH PERFORMANCE environment include:

  • Senior Coach
  • Master Coach

Therefore, as far as the ASA is concerned, the core difference between the roles of Teacher and Coach lies in the Teacher / Coach’s knowledge of and ability to implement, specific strategies based on the individual needs of the participants they are working with, in a specific environment.

The core differences between Teaching and Coaching roles are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1 – Core Differences between Teaching and Coaching Roles

Table 1

What Do We Mean By ‘High Performing?

When developing the Technical Guidelines for High Performing Teachers and Coaches we needed to be very clear about what we are trying to achieve and central to this process has been the clarity of what we mean by the term ‘High Performing Teacher / Coach’.

The term ‘High Performing’ has now started to be oft-used in the realm of Coach Education / Development within the UK and in some other countries such as Australia and New Zealand in very recent times. However in sport, the true meaning of the term ‘high performing’ is very rarely well articulated or explained and certainly is not clearly linked to teacher / coach education / training / development programmes. More often than not it has been a term that is used by many without having a rationale behind it. It is for this reason that we need to clearly express our meaning of the term.

In the TCAP, High Performing relates to specific “Critical Performance Outcomes” and “Indicators of Effective Practice” that have been achieved during each phase of learning.

High Performing Coaches are recognised based on extensive UK and international research evidence based research, however there are three key principles which underpin the ASA High Performing Coach model and philosophy:

1. Participant Centred

In recent times, various coach education / development programmes around the world (e.g. Australian National Coach Accreditation Scheme, New Zealand Coach Development Framework, Canadian National Coaching Certification Programme and the UKCC) use the term “participant / athlete centred”.

If asked the question “do you believe in the participant / athlete centred approach to coaching?” in contemporary times, the majority of a coaches and coach educators answer YES! However, if the same people are asked the question “why do you believe in the participant / athlete centred approach to coaching?”, respondents often struggle to articulate an answer, or multiple respondents answer very differently.

The essence of participant centred coaching revolves around the fact that “Regardless of what a coach plans, says or does, it is the participant who decides what happens next (in training and competition)”.

2. Participant Centred AND Participant Driven

Many contemporary participant and coach development programmes around the world use the ‘participant centred – coach driven’ approach. Coaches are trained to focus on the needs of the participants, but ensure that it is they, as the coach drive the design, implementation and review of the coaching programme.

Linking this philosophy, our position has been to relate to the term ‘participant centred’ as to how we see it fitting into the role of ‘High Performing Coaching’ in all environments, and in all disciplines. Also how it facilitates coaching programmes which are both participant centred and participant (and performance) driven. Our position is that high performing coaches constantly provide direction to participants / athletes, but they do not control their thoughts, feelings, behaviours or performances.

3. Copy, Modify, Create and Innovate!

As Coaches progress through their career development, evidence suggests they tend to follow a path of: Copy – Modify – Create / Innovate. In general terms, the ASA Teacher/Coach Education Programme direction aligns to this path. We see Phase 1 (Qualified/Minimum Standard for Deployment) Teachers and Coaches in different environments, largely operating in the ‘Copy’ stage, whereby they learn something new via formal and informal learning and then look to use this new knowledge to implement or ‘modify’ new programme activities.

We see Phase 2 (High Performing) Teachers and Coaches in different environments, operating in the ‘Create / Innovate’ stage, whereby the have developed the ability to identify an issue, and to use their knowledge to create innovative coaching solutions to effectively deal with complex issues in specific coaching contexts.

The Coach Development Process

In recent years, the development of professional standards for Coaches has grown in importance in the field of sport in the UK and abroad. In the UK, in all aquatic disciplines, the development of the UKCF/ISCF and the Development Framework have been key initiatives in underpinning these Teacher/Coach learning programmes. The Technical Guidelines facilitate agreement on and consistency around what constitutes high performing coaching and they also assist in the facilitation of collaboration in supporting ongoing quality coaching.

The Technical Guidelines have also been developed on the understanding that any consideration of what constitutes high performing coaching, needs to take into account the diversity of contexts in which the coaches work. Phase 1 (UKCC qualified) and Phase 2 (High Performing enhanced CPD) Coach indicators of effective practice will vary based on:

  1. The Role: (Support Teacher, Teacher, Senior Teacher, Support Coach, Coach, Senior Coach and Master Coach) being performed;
  2. The Environment: (Beginner, Talent Development and / or High Performance); in which the coach is performing; and
  3. The Discipline: (Swimming, Diving, Water Polo and / or Synchronised Swimming) which the coach is operating in.

All efforts continue to be made to ensure the ongoing involvement of coaches in the continual improvement of coach development.

Understanding the Structure

The Technical Guidelines articulate the complex nature of coaching by describing three professional elements of a coach’s work: professional attributes, professional knowledge and professional practice.

These elements work in an interrelated way as they are put into practice in all coaching environments.

The Guidelines consist of seven components (Figure 1).

Fig 1

Figure 1: Guidelines

 The Professional Attributes of a Coach

Professional attributes provide the underpinning values, beliefs and skills for the decisions and actions coaches make in their day-to-day work. They describe the attitudes and behaviours through which coaches demonstrate their ability to facilitate participant learning, development and performance. In this approach, High Performing Coaches, in all environments, in all roles and in all disciplines, throughout all phases of their career demonstrate the following core attributes:


  • They demonstrate good interpersonal skills by creating opportunities to communicate and share knowledge, ideas and experience with others within and external to the ASA coaching workforce.
  • They seek assistance from colleagues and are keen to consider and act upon advice offered.
  • They acknowledge and encourage participants, parents and caregivers as partners in the involvement of participant learning, development and performance.


  • They are dedicated to developing, and acting in the best interests of all participants.
  • They enjoy meeting the challenges encountered in developing others and are inspired to make a difference.
  • They are devoted to the educational, personal, social, moral and cultural development of their participants.
  • They are self-motivated to engage in individualised life-long learning and development to in order to realise their own potential.

Effective Communication

  • They have a presence that creates a positive influence on participants’ behaviour.
  • They can articulate their thoughts and ideas whilst modifying their language according to the context and audience.


In accordance with the ASA Code of Ethics:

  • They respect the rights of others by acting with consistency and impartiality.
  • They have an understanding of the principles of social justice and demonstrate this by making just and fair decisions.


  • They are creative problem solvers who are willing to take risks in order to find new and enterprising solutions to coaching issues and are inventive when developing coaching programmes.


  • They treat all participants with care and sensitivity by identifying and addressing their educational, physical, emotional, social and cultural needs.
  • They participant must be at the centre of the process; when coaching, the high performing coach supports, co-ordinates and manages the process effectively always starting with the identification and recognition of the participant’s needs and aims to address those needs via their coaching.
  • They aim to empower participants, supporting their right to make choices, discover their own solutions, and enable them to participate and develop at their own pace and in their own way within the confines of the environment.
  • They aim to grow participant’s confidence and self esteem.
  • They are astute in recognising and responding to barriers that inhibit participant performance outcomes.


  • They are supportive and constructive in their interaction with others.
  • They show flexibility in an ever-changing work environment and are willing to consider critically and implement change.
  • They are advocates of their profession.


  • They are insightful in analysing and evaluating their professional practice and can demonstrate evidence-based decision-making.
  • They draw upon their professional knowledge to plan a course of action and determine goals that improve their practice and participant development.
  • They are informed professionals who avail themselves of professional learning opportunities in order to examine critically new and emerging coaching trends.

In support of these core attributes, the high performing coaching attributes below relate to the Our Formula for Success section within the ASA Development Framework document.


High Performing Coaches will:

  • Have an inherent thirst for knowledge;
  • Have ownership of their own development;
  • Look beyond the results to ensure that tomorrow’s performance is better than today’s;
  • Promote every coaching situation as a learning opportunity;
  • Work with key partners to ensure they understand their role and how they are contributing to achieving the objectives of their participants;
  • Accept responsibility for improving the environment in which they work

Professional Knowledge

These Technical Guidelines are based on the principle that high performing coaches draw on a body of professional knowledge (generic and discipline specific) in order to maximise their ability to improve participant performance outcomes.

The Guidelines also support coaches as they continue to build their professional knowledge. They promote ongoing formal and informal professional learning and incorporate contemporary, best practice coaching research, theory and applications.

Underpinning Professional Knowledge

Coaching Performance Standards within the Guidelines are underpinned by the following areas of core professional knowledge.

High performing coaches in all environments and in all disciplines are required to:

  • Understand the structure, process and function of the ASA Development Framework and its implication for coaching and coach development.
  • Comprehend the purpose, nature and use of a variety of participant assessment strategies and understand how information acquired through assessment processes can be used to reflect upon and modify coaching practices.
  • Understand that participants’ learning is influenced by their stage of development, experiences, abilities, interests, language, family, culture and community.
  • Know the key concepts, content and processes of inquiry that are central to relevant coaching areas.
  • Be familiar with the relevant frameworks of law and regulation affecting the coaching system and coaches’ work.
  • Identify and understand key technical, tactical, psychological, physiological, social and emotional elements required to effectively coach participants in specific environments and specific disciplines.

 The Two Phases of Coach Performance

The Technical Guidelines outline characteristics of effective coaching practice across two broad phases of coaches’ work, describing coaches’ performance and work along a continuum of practice:

Phase 1 – UKCC qualified to meet Phase 1 indicators

Phase 2 – High Performing Coach iLearns (ASA Teacher / Coach Accelerator Programme)

These phases are dynamic and are not related to length of service or knowledge gained over time. A coach may operate at either phase at any stage of their career, depending on issues such as the environment in which they are operating, the coaching role they are fulfilling, and the aquatic discipline in which they are coaching.

Example 1

A Phase 2 (High Performing) Coach operating in the High Performance Environment, may exhibit Phase 1 (i.e. qualified and any required gap training) characteristics if they decide to start operating in the Talent Development Coaching Environment.

Example 2

A Phase 2 (High Performing) Coach operating in the Talent Development Coaching Environment, may exhibit Phase 1 (i.e. qualified and any required gap training) characteristics if they decide that they want to start operating in the High Performance Coaching Environment.

As coaches become familiar with the coaching performance standards of each phase they will be able to determine the types of professional learning activities that best address their individual needs.

Figure 2 outlines the pathway for Phase 1 (UKCC qualified/ gap training) and the Phase 2 (High Performing – ASA Teacher / Coach Accelerator Programme).

Fig 2

Figure 2: Phase 1 to 2 progression

Phase 1 – UKCC Qualified (and any Required Gap Training)

Phase 1 consists of two components; UKCC Qualified, and fulfilling any required Gaps in their current Training and Development.

1. UKCC qualified

If a coach successfully completes the requirements of a UKCC ASA Coaching qualification (i.e. Level 1, 2 or 3, in the disciplines of Swimming, Water Polo, Diving and Synchronised Swimming) they are qualified to operate as a coach.

2. Gap Training

If coaches want to be recognised as a Phase 1 Coach in a particular environment (i.e. Beginner / Talent Development / or High Performance) and in a particular discipline (i.e. Swimming / Water Polo / Diving / Synchronised Swimming), they may also be required to complete environment specific gap training, to ensure they demonstrate all relevant Phase 1 indicators of effective practice.

To enter the ASA Teacher / Coach Accelerator Programme (TCAP), coaches must have successfully completed both a UKCC ASA Qualification, and the necessary Gap Training, relevant to their chosen role, environment and discipline.

Phase 2 – ASA Teacher/Coach Accelerator Programme

Teacher / Coach Centred and Driven

In encouraging Teachers / Coaches to progress from Phase 1 to Phase 2, the ASA Teacher / Coach Accelerator Programme (TCAP) develops Coach self-awareness, self-responsibility and self-belief; and gives them the power to choose the direction of their learning journey.

  1. Teachers and Coaches entering the TCAP undertake an on-line profile designed to identify current strengths and weaknesses in relation to the ASA Phase 2 Indicators of Effective Practice, specific to the environment and discipline in which they are working. This profile then identifies relevant ASA learning opportunities which will help the teacher / coach develop their capacities.
  1. The Teacher / Coach chooses which ASA learning opportunities best suit their development needs and their current professional and personal circumstances and uses a template provided, to develop an Individual Performance Plan (IPP).
  1. The Teacher / Coach implements their IPP by undertaking the learning opportunities identified and is then recognised by the ASA as being a Phase 2 / High Performing Teacher / Coach.
  1. Recognised High Performing Teachers / Coaches will then be encouraged to undertake a new profile, develop an updated IPP and continue their learning journey.

Phase 1 – Dimensions of Coach’s Work

Phase 1 of the Guidelines is based on a construct of 6 dimensions of effective coaching. Each dimension describes the generic characteristics of coaches’ work that are central to the attainment of professional effectiveness in each key coaching environment, in each coaching role and in each aquatic discipline.

The 6 dimensions interconnect with each other and collectively contribute to coach’s effectiveness. The dimensions relate (wherever possible) to the National Occupational Standards for Teaching and Coaching at each level of operation.

Effective coaching involves coaches engaging in all 6 dimensions. Dimensions 1, 2, 3 and 6 are critical in the practice of coaching, and articulate effective interaction between the coach and participant. Dimensions 4 and 5 describe the working environment that supports coaching excellence.

Dimension 1: Planning and Preparing

Dimension 2: Delivering and Facilitating

Dimension 3: Monitoring and Evaluating

Dimension 4: Engaging in Professional Learning

Dimension 5: Forming Partnerships within the Coaching Community

Dimension 6: Discipline Specific Application

Dimension 1: Planning and Preparing

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches plan coaching activities that engage participants and provide a purpose for learning and development. They experiment by planning different approaches to coaching to better address the needs of participants and priorities of the programme.

In this phase, programme planning and preparation is often coach driven with the coach taking responsibility for determining what participants will do, to what degree and how.


Dimension 2: Delivering and Facilitating

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches deliver coaching activities that engage participants and provide a purpose for their involvement in the programme. They experiment by using different approaches to coaching to better address the needs of participants and priorities of the programme.

In this phase, programme delivery is often coach driven with the coach taking responsibility how the programme is delivered.


Dimension 3: Monitoring and Evaluating

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches work with mentor coaches / supervising coaches to identify programme and personal coaching strengths and weaknesses and relevant intervention strategies.

These coaches work with colleagues to implement specific intervention strategies and monitor the impact these have on their coaching behaviours and competencies.


Dimension 4: Engaging in Professional Learning

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches are involved in identifying their own professional learning needs. They seek feedback and direction from a variety of sources to plan for and participate in professional learning.

These coaches establish individual approaches to coaching and learning and undertake formal and informal professional learning to support and extend their coaching capacities.


Dimension 5: Forming Partnerships within the Coaching Community

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches establish positive partnerships with participants, colleagues, parents and caregivers. They respect participants as individuals and respond to their needs appropriately and sensitively.

Coaches operating in this phase work cooperatively with colleagues, acknowledging and valuing different perspectives.

Phase 1 coaches initiate contact with parents and caregivers, providing ongoing information about participants and programme issues


Dimension 6: Discipline Specific Application

Phase 1 Phase 1 coaches apply the competencies and behaviours outlined within Phase 1 for Dimensions 1 – 5, in a discipline, environment and role specific coaching context.


Phase 2 – Dimensions of Coach’s Work

Phase 2 of the Guidelines is based on a construct of 4 discrete and discipline generic dimensions of high performing coach awareness and engagement - (i.e. there are no phase 2 indicators specifically relating to different aquatic disciplines as there were with the Phase 1 Dimension 6 indicators – i.e. Discipline Specific Application).

Each dimension describes the key characteristics of a high performing coaches’ work that is central to the attainment of coaching excellence in each key coaching environment, in each coaching role and in each aquatic discipline.

Effective coaching involves coaches actively engaging in all 4 Dimensions. Dimensions 1 – 4 are critical in the practice of attaining ‘high performing coach status, and display the fluent, physical and psycho-social understanding and interaction between the coach and participant that underpins continuous coaching excellence.

The 4 dimensions interconnect with each other and collectively contribute to high performing coach capacity and performance.

These 4 dimensions derive from in-depth UK and international research and consistently relate to all High Performing coaches operating in all ASA Coaching Environments and in all Coaching roles. High Performing coaching practice requires successful integration of the 4 dimensions below.

Dimension 1: Coach Self-Awareness

Dimension 2: Participant Self-Awareness

Dimension 3: Environmental Awareness

Dimension 4: Participant Engagement


Dimension 1: Coaching Self-Awareness

Phase 2 Phase 2 coaches need to be fully self-aware in order to engage with their participants and provide an optimum pathway for learning and development.

They experiment by applying different approaches relative to what they know about themselves in relation to their coaching, in order to better address the individual needs of participants.

Self-awareness allows a person to make changes to their behaviour.

“I am only able to control that of which I am aware. That of which I am unaware controls me. Awareness empowers me”.

Whitmore (2009)

‘It is very difficult to change behaviour if one is not aware of one’s existing behaviour in the first place!’

The ASA believes that once a coach is truly self-aware, only then can they be an effective “participant educator.


Dimension 2: Participant Self-Awareness

Phase 2 Phase 2 coaches should possess not only self-awareness, but in order to fully engage with participants, they should also possess extensive participant awareness and be able to help participants develop their own sense of self-awareness.

Regardless of what a coach plans, says or does, it is the participant who decides what happens next (in training and competition).

“Change occurs when a participant has the awareness of what is happening AND the intent to change it”.

Whitmore (2009)


Dimension 3: Environmental Awareness

Phase 2 In addition to being highly self-aware and aware of their participants, they also need to be acutely aware of the environment/s in which they coach.

Phase 2 coaches will use an in-depth understanding of discipline specific ASA Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) frameworks and Cote’s Development Model of Sport Participation (DMSP), relevant to the environment/s in which they coach.

Phase 2 coaches will also be aware of and understand external environmental factors in order to provide optimal experiences to their participants. Issues may include, but not be limited to:

–       The physical environment (space, equipment, climate, etc)

–       Human resources available (and their skills)

–       Financial resources available


The secret ingredient is to really understand the coaching context you are working in. Ask yourself; what do the participants in this environment need from me? If you understand this, you can start your journey towards getting better”.

John Herdman – New Zealand Football Head Coach.


Dimension 4: Participant Engagement

Phase 2 It is important to understand how coaching has evolved. There are now two different and distinct teaching / coaching approaches:

  1. Coaching by Compliance and Obedience; and
  2. Coaching with Engagement


Compliance coaching – i.e. where the coach controls the outcome of the session by manipulating physical (volume, intensity and frequency) and technical variables” i.e. – the Coach set’s the session – the participant does it, is considered by many to be old coaching philosophy Compliance coaches often perceive the level of control they have over coaching situations is higher than reality would suggest.

How much control do they really have over participants’:

–       Attitude to learning?

–       Whether or not they are receptive to their ideas?

–       Whether or not they listen to them?

–       Whether or not they agree with them?

•       Whether or not they understand instructions / ideas?

•       Whether or not they can transfer the instruction into movement?


Coaching where the participants’ own standards, drive, personality and enthusiasm produce even greater outcomes than the coach thought possible – where the participant adds real value to the session; this is the way of the future: it is the future of great coaching.

Coaching success in modern sport is determined by the ability to engage participants in their programmes. Previously, coaching was all about what a coach knew – knowledge was the currency of coaching. Knowledge is no longer the key currency of coaching and coaches who rely on their knowledge alone will not achieve their potential.

For any participant to fulfil their potential requires commitment and engagement – not just compliance.

A high performing coach helps transport a participant from where they are, to where THEY want to be.


Coaching Performance Standards

The term Coaching Performance Standards refers to a combination of attributes underlying aspects of successful coaching performance. Coaching Performance Standards are concerned with the application of professional knowledge and skills within the coaching workplace and are underpinned by coaches’ professional values.

Each Coaching Performance Standard is a statement of the level of professional performance a coach exhibits for that Dimension.

Critical Performance Outcomes

Critical Performance Outcomes are the building blocks of each coach performance standard. They map a range of professional actions coaches engage in as they apply their professional knowledge, skills and attributes to their coaching environment. They are identifiable characteristics that contribute to the achievement of the overall coaching performance standard.

Indicators of Effective Practice

Indicators of Effective Practice are competency-related professional actions that provide examples of the professional behaviours demonstrated by coaches who have attained a particular coaching performance standard. This leads to the attaining High Performing status through repeated learning, development and sharing of best practice in their coaching.


This blog post has shared some of the defining characteristics of the TCAP approach adopted by ASA/British swimming.

I have compiled a list of resources to accompany this post. You can find it here Resources.


#UCSIA15 A family meeting


IMG_1695We had a delightful family day in Braidwood on Christmas Day.

There was joy, excitement, relief and contentment.

I hope that this is the atmosphere that pervades #UCSIA15 when it comes online on 23 February … and that a modest open online course might bring together a dispersed family interested in sport informatics and analytics.

I do live in a small town in rural New South Wales. My hopes for #UCSIA15 are prompted by the real sense of community in my town of 1200 people. I think it is a caring and sharing place with lots of time and opportunities for conviviality. I believe these characteristics do scale to open courses that celebrate playfulness and altruism.

BRDWe have limited access to high speed broadband in the town. As a result everyone engages with the digital world with an equal mixture of patience and frustration. I think part of my fascination with open asynchronous resources is based upon seven years of living in a rural community whilst pursuing a connectivist approach to sharing and cooperating.

Two posts over the Christmas period have encouraged me to reflect on my interest in sharing as a family. Both come from the Medium blogging platform.

Esko Kilpi wrote eloquently about Advanced Work on 22 December. He argued that:

The architecture of work is metaphorically still a picture of walls defining who is employed and inside and who is unemployed and outside. Who is included and who is excluded. Who “we” are and who “they” are. This way of thinking was acceptable in repetitive work where it was relatively easy to define what needed to be done and by whom as a definition of the quantity of labor and quality of capabilities.

In creative, knowledge based work it is increasingly difficult to know the best mix of people, capabilities and tasks in advance. Interdependence between peers involves, almost by default, crossing boundaries. The walls seem to be in the wrong position or in the way, making work harder to do. What, then, is the use of the organizational theatre when it is literally impossible to define the organization before we actually do something?

He suggested that:

The focal point in tomorrow’s organizing is not the organizational entity one belongs to, or the manager one reports to, but the reason that brings people together. What purposes, activities and tasks unite us? What is the cause of group formation? The architecture of work is a live social graph of networked interdependence and accountability.

Esko proposed that this is the time for Advanced work and our opportunity is “to see action within human relationships supported by our relationship with technological intelligence”.

IMG_0629I am hopeful that #UCSIA15 demonstrates this Advanced work through self-organising networks of people interested in, and passionate about, informatics and analytics.

The second post that encouraged my thinking was written by Ben Werdmuller on 27 December. I thought Ben’s post was an excellent discussion of personal and digital identity.

Ben observed that during a social gathering of friends he had not seen for some time:

Someone whose opinion matters a lot to me, and who knows me better than almost everyone, said that they kind of wanted to throttle my social media persona. It felt like a marketing campaign, and it so clearly wasn’t me.

This encouraged Ben to reflect and write about personal identity. He noted:

I don’t think it’s right to say that everyone on social media is motivated to promote themselves. We want to make friends; we want to find love; we want to learn from each others’ experiences. We crave real, deep, human connections that have nothing to do with our professional development or selling our wares. (Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it.) We want to share our feelings, our desires, the things that make us people, and not to get a “like” or to build followers or to make a buck, but to be alive.

He concluded that “I use the Internet to reach out to far-away people who mean so much to me. I hope they see some of me in the reflection”.

I am hopeful that the modesty of #UCSIA15 and the desired to connect with near- and far-away people does create the family feeling we experience during festivities.




As we were: performances against ranking in three rugby union competitions



I have been monitoring three rugby union competitions in the 2014-2015 northern hemisphere season.

I track performance against previous year’s ranking. In the tables below green indicates a win predicted by ranking and blue a defeat predicted by ranking. Gold is an unexpected win against ranking and red an unexpected defeat against ranking.

Aviva Premiership


The Aviva Premiership resumed last weekend after a break for European fixtures.

Week 10 followed the pattern of Week 1 … all games followed the 2013-2014 rankings.


Greene King Championship

Three games were played last weekend. All followed 2013-2014 ranking.


Top 14 Orange



Round 13 of the Top 14 Orange competition in France provided the only exception to the ranking rule this weekend. Bayonne defeated Bordeaux Begles by 3 points. Bayonne’s win reflects the Top 14 trend of lower ranked teams winning at home. Grenoble did play a higher ranked team at home and lost … despite scoring 30 points against Stade Francais. You could say they were the exception to the exception.

Making a Difference


Fifteen out of last weekends sixteen fixtures followed 2013-2014 rankings. What interests me is that all teams have had an opportunity to reset their focus and training modalities after a break for European competition.

Have the teams regressed to type during this period?

There were no tries in the Bayonne v Bordeaux-Begles game. The game was won in the 78th minute with a drop goal.

Photo Credits

Millenium Stadium (Marc, CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

Joe Launchbury (Peter Dean, CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

DSC_1038 (Simon Robinson, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Match rugby Top 14: Racing Metro v Perpignan (Christophe Cussant-Blanc, CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

USAP – Stade Toulousain 2012 (M Kibo, CC BY 2.0)

#UCSIA15: Desire Paths, Stepping Stones and Tickets




I have been thinking about learning journeys this week, particularly my own. Perhaps it has been triggered by my colleagues in the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at the University of Canberra who have introduced me to the retrospectroscope as an important part of a process of developing an ePortfolio.

I think it has been prompted too by my attempt to find an appropriate, invitational language to encourage interest and participation in the #UCSIA15 open online course that starts on 23 February and continues for four weeks.

These have led me to desire paths, stepping stones and tickets.

Desire Paths


The retrospectroscope took me back to my first post of 2014 that was prompted by a comment by Kate Bowles. She brought desire paths to my attention. Kate observes that the essence of a successful desire path

is that it represents shared decision-making between separate users who don’t formally cooperate. So a desire path is both a coherent expression of collective effort, and completely unplanned — in fact, it’s the opposite of planning. Simply, each one puts her or his foot where it feels most sensible, and the result is a useful informal path that’s sensitive to gradient, destination, weather, terrain, and built through unspoken collaboration among strangers.

I do think this is a great way to describe my hopes for #UCSIA15 … putting one’s feet “where it feels most sensible”. This seems a good approach to stepping stones.

Stepping Stones


Whilst exploring TRU Writer yesterday, I came across A. Cheesy-Writer’s post about DS106. I do think DS106 sets the standard for open courses and for the ways participants share their experiences of open learning.

I was very interested to learn about whether open courses present obstacles to participation or provide stepping stones.

We at DS106 however, choose to see challenges as stepping-stones – opportunities that we have encountered along the way for us to use, to “step on” so that we can achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our goals!

Along with my TLC colleagues Jennifer Smith and Georgina Barden, I have been wondering if part of the invitation to the stepping stones in #UCSIA15 might be tickets that indicate the choices participants have in the open course.


It is quite difficult to avoid cliches when discussing sport. However, Jennifer, Georgina and I do think there is some merit in contemplating tickets for #UCSIA15.

We thought there might be at least four options:

General Admission for those who would like to be guided in the course


Self-directed learning


Participants who would like to pursue a specific interest


Those who would like to go beyond hello and who will support and facilitate other participants’ learning


We have the added bonus that if participants would like to change their tickets when they arrive at the course, we will have a globally connected staff of stewards to help in relocating aspirations and expectations.

All the tickets are the same price … free admission.

Photo Credits

In the Mendips (Matthew Benton, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The parsnip field home (Steve, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Walking on Water (Will Bakker, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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