Ignite Sport > News and Blogs > UK Coaching Week: the key qualities of a great coach

 Great coaches are playing an important role in the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

They transform lives, inspire communities through physical activity and offer support and assistance to those they work with to create positive change. This week marks UK Coaching Week, an opportunity to celebrate the UK’s three million
coaches and the vital work they deliver to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.  

At Ignite Sport UK, our team more than 40 coaches work daily in schools, community settings at our Oxford City FC base and online to inspire positive change through sport, activity and wellbeing. As part of UK Coaching Week, our General Manager Hannah Bladen answered five key questions to define the key qualities of a great coach.  

What is great coaching?  

A great coach is many things. The International Olympic Committee says a great coach is positive, enthusiastic, supportive, trusting, focused, knowledgeable, observant, respectful, patient and a clear communicator.  

It is all true. Great coaches make people believe in their ability to achieve and motivate those they work with through fun and challenging tasks. Our glass must always be half full. Why? Because without an inspiring approach you cannot
influence positive lasting behavioural change.  

Coaches cannot dwell on issues outside of their control, problem solving is an important quality in coaches of all levels. It is about being a leader who can role up their sleeves and inspire others to be the best version of themselves.  

What does it mean to you?  

Seeing people reach their full potential and helping them to make sensible life choices is my passion.  

These goals can be achieved through Ignite Sport UK’s umbrella of training and coaching provisions. This includes our sports-based apprenticeships, adult education programmes, school holiday camps, youth football sessions and our school

Quality coaching should not be limited to the training ground. It can be delivered in a range of environments. Personally, I believe a great coach is a good role model to those they work with, leads by example and plays an active role in the team.

Have you faced challenges?  

We face exciting challenges every day at Ignite Sport UK. They vary dependant on the group of individuals we are working with. We tailor delivery to ensure maximum impact that meets the needs of the audience. 

To ensure people have a great experience we create clear expectations and outcomes for each session. Mutual understanding of what is expected is key to a great session. A great coach will have bags of activities and fun engagement techniques to gain maximum impact and achieve success. Ignite Sport UK enjoys working with a range of people aged four upwards. All out team are equipped with techniques to deliver according to age and ability.  

How do we create resilience?  

Much of sport is about winning or losing and learning how to deal with setbacks.   

A great coach will work with its participants and teams to understand this and create ways to manage challenges. They will also teach participants how to win gracefully and help them to play an active part in a team and show respect to their peers. Coaches recognise and reward success and praise effort and determination.  

What is coaching like as a career?   

My passion for sport was established during my education. My life and career have been shaped through my time on the training ground with my coaches when I was a student.  

At Ignite Sport UK we are stiving to deliver the next generation of great coaches via our apprenticeship training programmes. If you would like to become a coach, or your organisation would like one please get in touch.  

Being a sports coach is a fantastic career. It is fun and rewarding and you meet great people. There are so many opportunities that are both part time and full time at Ignite Sport UK. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a coach, we can help you realise your passion.   

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