Advancing Players

Step Towards a Healthier Future at The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open

10th Jul 2019

Free Coaching for Spectators and a Focus On Inclusive Golf at Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open

9th Jul 2019

Training Champions With ETPI – Andrea Pavan

8th Jul 2019

Disabled Golf Champions Aim to Inspire Thousands of New Players

5th Jul 2019

EDGA Player profiles – Johan Kammerstad

2nd Jul 2019

Building a Better Future for Your Public Golf Course

1st Jul 2019

PING signs Viktor Hovland, former world #1 amateur

20th Jun 2019

Golf Pride Wins Grip Count and the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach

18th Jun 2019

Golf Escapes to Host Inaugural Marbella Pro-Am

14th Jun 2019

Reasons to Celebrate the Health of Golf…

22nd May 2019

“No one moves the needle quite like Augusta…” | Kevin Flynn

16th May 2019

2018 Ryder Cup Performance Team – Behind the Scenes

16th May 2019

Why Coaching Trips Can Be a Money-Spinner for PGA Professionals

13th May 2019

What Should Golfers Do In the Gym?

15th Apr 2019

PODCAST SPECIAL: #GolfHealthWeek – Dr Roger Hawkes & Dr Andrew Murray, Golf & Health Project

15th Apr 2019

PGAs of Europe Supports ‘pledge and PLAY’ For More Inclusive Golf

11th Apr 2019

Member Country PGAs Gather at Le Golf National for Launch of New PGAs of Europe Project

8th Apr 2019

[Whitepaper] From High Potential to High Performance

8th Apr 2019

U.S. Kids Golf Venice Open Achieves World First for Connecting Golf, Sustainability and the Next Generation

7th Apr 2019

Golf Reduces Stress and Improves Mental Health, Says Leading Expert

6th Apr 2019
load more

Coaching Experience Expectations3 min read

Dr Richard BaileyAuthor: Dr Richard Bailey

Posted on: 16th Sep 2016

Here Dr. Richard Bailey gives his thoughts on how his expectations of the coaching experience changed from when he was an athlete…


My expectations of the coaching experience have changed considerably since I was an athlete. Of course, this was quite a long time ago!

I was lucky to have competed at a relatively high level in a number of sports, including rugby and cricket, before settling on fighting sports like Karate and Kickboxing.  In all of these sports the coaching would be best described as mixed.

Some coaches were knowledgeable, supportive and kind; others were not.  Some were role models; others were raving lunatics!  I tended to accept the coaching that was on offer partly because that was all I knew, especially if those coaches were judged to be successful.  And I figured that these coaches were strong in specific areas, so there was always something to learn from them, even if they were limited in other areas.

In some cases, the coaching was harsh, even brutal. In the case of fighting sports, made sense at the time, as it was obviously necessary to cope with pain and injury of a regular basis.  So I regularly trained with broken bones, recurring injuries and exhaustion.

Sometimes, it was just comical.  I remember the coach of my last cricket team insisting that none of his players used first names, and that we never socialised together, as he wanted to generate a ‘professional’ attitude among his team that was not diluted by the jokey friendliness of most of the opposition.  We were all under 16 years old.

Continue the conversation in our LinkedIn Discussion Group:

Things have moved on considerably since then.  I have seen a radical transformation in the perceptions of what makes a great coach.  Two changes, in particular, seem particularly significant.

The first is the movement towards an ‘athlete-centred’ approach, in which the interests and needs of the players are at the forefront.  In other words, the athletes are ends in themselves (their development is the whole point of the enterprise); not just means to someone else’s end, such as the coach ego or club’s success.

Athlete-cantered coaching need not be soft or easy.  On the contrary, it should be appropriately challenging, and my own understanding has been transformed by working with coaches who manage to balance the requirements of competitive sport with the simple fact that they are dealing with human beings.

The second change has been the slower emergence of evidence-based coaching.  Sport continues to be dominated by tradition.  But more coaches are recognising that ‘we’ve always done it that way’ will not do.

Common sense is a feeble justification for practices, especially when those practices can risk the health and well being of players.  Academically validated qualifications are part of the picture. More important, though, is the wider acceptance among coaches that a scientific mind-set lies at the heart of professional, athlete-centred coaching. Tradition and authority have little value here.

Science, alone, offers a candle in the dark!

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

Dr Richard BaileyAuthor: Dr Richard Bailey

A philosopher and sport scientist by training, Richard Bailey now shares his time between writing and researching about the relationship between physical, sport and human development.

He writes a popular blog called ‘Talking Education and Sport’ (, Tweets about sport and learning (@DrDickB), and has a new, regular column on physical activity and the good life for Psychology Today magazine called ‘Smart Moves’. He lives in Berlin, Germany.