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.


  1. Ian, A great post. Thank you for taking the time to prepare and writing this blog post. Also thank you Keith for facilitating it.
    Swimming has always, to me, seen as a confused sport with Swimming Teachers and Swimming Coaches – this post at least gives me some road map to understand it all. I see several references to UKCC programmes but I could see much (if any) differentiation between Level 1 and Level 2 – clearly in some sports Level 1 is refereed to as an Assistant Coach. UK Swimming doesn’t, at first glance, seem to be using this terminology.
    If you get a moment, your thoughts on how we use Level 1 and Level 2 UKCC qualifications in the context of developing athletes would be appreciated.

    • Hello, Gordon.
      I will alert Ian. Thank you for finding the post.
      I hope you are having a delightful (snow-free) Christmas.
      Best wishes

  2. With Ian and Gordon’s permission I am adding their offline conversation here.
    Ian (30 December)
    Hi Gordon
    Many thanks for your comments, they are always very much appreciated.
    I think you make a very valid point, and probably one that I took a little for granted on understanding.
    We (The ASA) do go to great lengths to ensure that the Coach (and Teacher) role descriptors are very clear at UKCC qualification level, I was probably too focused on the high performing aspects of the blog to fully explain these roles clearly.
    You are quite correct though, our Coach/Teacher roles are as thus:
    Level 1 – Assistant/Support Coach/ Teacher
    Level 2 – Coach/ Teacher (Teacher is only up to this level at present)
    Level 3 – Senior Coach
    Level 4 – Master Coach (Yet to be fully deployed as yet)
    The aim of our 4 x 4 is to enable coaches to work in the environment of their choice e.g. Beginner/ Talent Development / High Performance, and be educated to the best they can be in that domain. This offers a lateral approach rather than coaches just trying to work vertically towards the elite environment.
    The main thrust of my blog is based around where do coaches go/what do coaches do after becoming ‘officially qualified’ (ultimately the basic standard for deployment) and the high performing pathways shows the potential routes for coaches to continue on a lifelong learning pathway that is environment specific, monitored, rewarded and offers continuous insight into coach behaviour change.
    I will be posting more for Keith very soon on just how we go about this, in the most engaging, and time effective manner for our coaching workforce.
    I hope this helps, but feel free to ask as many questions as you like, I am more than happy to answer them all.


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