Online Resources for Coaches

4344268766_1ae903c997_bIn the early days of public Internet access I found my way to Brent Rushall’s Coaching Science Abstracts. In the mid and late 1990s I found it a revelation to be able to access curated resources that saved me time and introduced me to a range of topics I may not have considered.

Volume 1(1), Training Principles, was my induction to online sharing. Between 1995 and 2002 I monitored Brent’s summaries with great interest. On the current welcome page to the Abstracts, Brent notes:

These abstracts interpret research articles for practicing coaches and others interested in applied sport science. They are drawn from the personal files of Professor Rushall. Some dated articles are included because their content is still current. Most articles are interpreted for coaches of elite athletes and programs. The contents are changed monthly and may or may not be thematic. Usually six issues per year will be provided.

Since Brent’s retirement from San Diego State University in 2004, abstracts included in Coaching Science Abstracts:

have increasingly come from the annual ACSM conference. The scope of other reading sources has diminished. ACSM contributions represent a wide variety of very recent works. Often they go on to become published articles in formal journals. It is my belief that what is presented now on this web site remains a good cross-section of the current thinking on the many topics covered. The standards for inclusion of referenced works remain high because each is originally supervised by at least one ACSM Fellow and this editor retains high conservative standards for evaluating the scientific rigor of each abstract’s origin.

In 2000, the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS) launched the Coaches’ Information Service. I thought this was an outstanding initiative and was particularly impressed by Ross Sanders’s work in sharing information with coaches. The current version of the service, CoachesInfo.com, shares research from sixteen sports.

Back in 2000, the Coaches’ Information Service aimed to present scientifically sound information in an appealing and coach-friendly way. The site had scope for scientific contributions based on research and ideas expressed by coaches and sports participants.

Memories of Brent and Ross’s work came back to me this week when I received an alert to the International Rugby Board’s Coaching platform. This online resource “designed to help coaches and match officials get their hands on essential and up-to-date information for improving their coaching and officiating”. The site provides opportunities to:

  • listen to and watch coaches explaining their practices
  • plan sessions on-line and share them with fellow coaches and players

The resources on the site are available in English, Spanish and Cantonese.

IndexMy memories were stirred further by the work Stephen Mellalieu, Keith Stokes and Grant Trewartha are doing as Network Editors of the IRB Rugby Science Network. The Network is “a global network of researchers who are interested in the study of the Rugby Football codes”. The Network was launched in November 2012 at the IRB Medical Conference.

The aims of the Network are to:

  • Promote the scientific study of the game and the transfer of scientific knowledge into professional practice through international collaboration.
  • Provide an international forum for the interaction between people interested in the science and practice of Rugby Football.
  • Work towards the establishment of a periodical conference and publication for academics and practitioners interested in Rugby Football.

The Network has an application process. Network editors respond within seventy-two hours to an application to join. I was very impressed by the speed of response to my request to join. I was able to acquire an IRB passport to the site within twelve hours.

There are nine Digest Sections available in the Network. I am keen to see how all of them develop and I have a particular interest in the Match Analysis Section edited by Ken Quarrie and Simon Roberts.

It is fascinating to see the seventeen-year evolution of online resources from Brent to the IRB. I think other services like the Clearinghouse for Sport in Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new Hub Application for high performance coaches will continue this transformation.

Photo Credit

Coaches watching the fight (Michael Heiniger)

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