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University of Birmingham and Aspire Academy run workshop on Empowering Coaching


Doha: Aspire Academy held a workshop for coaches in collaboration with University of Birmingham’s Empowering Coaching, an innovative approach to coaching delivered through a series of workshops that maximises the development of participants by fostering high levels of intrinsic motivation via the support of student-athlete’s sense of autonomy, belonging and competence.

The workshop was held at Aspire Academy over the past three days and involved 50 participants from various sports disciplines as well as sports scientists, medical staff, and educators who collectively can create a climate that can positively influence student-athlete’s motivation and well-being.

The unique approach of this workshop is based on theories of motivation and sport coaching. The programme supports coaches in identifying how they might integrate the workshop’s perspectives into personal coaching style in training and competitions.

One of the major benefits of the course is that the content and approach are theoretically-based and informed by past research that has been conducted across the world for more than 30 years. The main goal of the workshop is to help coaches better understand how to apply a certain set of principles to help them optimise the coaching climate and, in turn, enhance the quality of student-athlete motivation.

Commenting on the workshop, Dr. Paul Appleton from Empowering Coaching, who teaches at the University of Birmingham about the Motivation in Sport and Exercise, said: “The workshop went really well. Participants were really engaged and it seems they enjoyed the workshop, which is the most important thing from a motivational perspective. They were reflecting on their practice and also discussed with their colleagues the strategies they use to create an empowering climate.”

He added: “What makes this approach unique, is that it has a holistic approach that involves almost everybody in Aspire Academy who works with the student athletes. We can get them to understand and apply empowering principles.”

Besides the positive impact on their physical health and capabilities, practicing sports have the potential to result in a number of psychological benefits for adolescents, including confidence and self-esteem. Other benefits include love of sport and physical activity; ability to work as, and enjoy being part of, a team; respect for coaches, teammates and officials; and the ability to deal with victory or defeat with grace and perspective.

During the workshop, the Academy coaches, sports scientists and medical staff were introduced to several topics including understanding motivation and motivational climate; identification of coaching philosophy; how autonomy, belonging and competence form the building blocks for high levels of intrinsic motivation; and the many elements that make up an empowering climate.

Commenting on his participation at the three-day workshop, Peter Karlsson, the Head Coach of Table Tennis at Aspire Academy, said: “We are learning about the basic building blocks for success for both young and professional players. It is an extremely important and interesting session. Awareness is very important for coaches. We became more aware of different elements and the impact coaches have on players. It was a very valuable experience as we strive for excellence and quality.”

At the end of the workshop, the participants developed a model that helps understand how coaches can maximise motivation, performance, development and well-being. The attendees had the chance to learn about how to create an empowering coaching climate that nourishes student athletes’ sense of autonomy, feelings of belonging and focus on achieving goals, which will allow them to feel they have the competence to play, meet the demands of the sport and continue to improve.

The Empowering Coaching TM workshop was developed by Professor Joan Duda and supported by a team of researchers from the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Their work focuses on understanding the role of coaches and teachers in promoting or understanding athletes/pupils’ motivation, well-being and optimal engagement.

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