John Bales is the CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada.
His keynote address at IASI was entitled The Use of Web Based Technologies by Coaches
John initiated his presentation with the suggestion that learning faster than the opposition is fundamental to competitive advantage. He developed this suggestion with a discussion of learning organisations. His talk explored two themes in relation to coach education and development: How are coaches using web based technologies? What are the implications of these challenges?
John identified five challenges:
1. Communicating training and team information to athletes: (logistics, planning, monitoring, analysis of results). John discussed customised web sites as a solution to this challenge and used an example of a web site used by a Modern Pentathlon coach in the United Kingdom. The site had public domains for announcements, tasks, competitions, training, and team issues. The site has a private domain for coach-athlete interaction around training data.
2. Synthesising input from multiple sources and individualising it. John introduced this challenge with a Ric Charlesworth quote from Murray Phillips’ From Sidelines to Centre Field. John discussed web sites and web meeting software as a solution to this challenge and shared examples of athlete centred coach led systems. John discussed knowledge transfer and noted Ian Reade et al’s (2006) work. He used a British Volleyball web site as an example of this process of sharing knowledge and shared the use of Elluminate in Canada as meeting software to link coaches and players.
3. Competency based coach education programs. In this third challenge, John explored how to track large amounts of information and collecting evidence to demonstrate practice. He discussed in detail the use of an E-portfolio as a solution to this challenge. John used examples from Canada to illustrate the use of e-portfolios.
4. John considered two parts to this fourth challenge: (a) Accessibility and effectiveness of coach education. He explored web based learning. and ePreparation for face-to-face contexts. John shared an example of Canadian Ski Coaches’ e-preparation and the use made of video within the e-preparation phase. (b) Retaining effective learning methods in an e-learning environment. John noted the importance of experiential and problem based learning environments. He used Jennifer Moon’s (2001) Short courses and workshops: improving the impact of learning, training and professional development): nature of current practice principles to explore learning:
- identify current practice
- clarify new learning and how it relates to current understandings and practice
- integrate new learning and current understandings of practice;
- anticipate or imagine the nature of improved practice.
John used an example of Virtual 3D resources to discuss learning facilitation. He shared work underway on a pilot program to link winter sport coaches in Canada.
5. Lifelong learning: create environments encouraging ongoing interaction and daily learning. John explored the opportunities available to social networks and illustrated his discussion with an example of a Global Coach Social Network.
John concluded his keynote address with a consideration of the implications of these challenges and solutions for sports organisations.