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					Missing the coach for 2012? UK sport held back by a deficit of up to quarter of a million professional coaches
  Shortfall threatens to undermine Great Britain‟s ambitions to climb the Olympic medals table in 2012

„Culture of volunteerism‟ in UK coaching perpetuates social exclusion; and stifles career progression for home grown coaches Under strict embargo until 00.01hrs, Thursday 24th January

A report released today by Sportnation, the sports think-tank supported by the Lucozade Sports Science Academy and chaired by Steve Cram, suggests that even on conservative estimates, the UK could face a shortfall of anywhere up to a quarter of a million full-time and part-time paid professional sports coaches. This deficit threatens to undermine both the London 2012 Olympic legacy, and the Government‟s aims to make the UK the best place in the world for coaching by 2016. ‘Are we missing the coach for 2012?’ was commissioned from Loughborough University by the Sportnation think-tank. The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with the performance directors and senior representatives in twelve major sports1, supplemented by fresh analysis of the links between „volunteerism‟, social exclusion and sporting participation and success. The report contends:  69% of the 1.2m to 1.5m sports coaches in the UK are unpaid volunteers;  In performance athletics there are as few as 12 salaried coaches in the UK;  The report calls for investment in creating between 160,000 and 233,500 additional paid, professional coaching positions by 2016 – much more ambitious than the proposed 42,000 new positions to be created in the same time period under Sportscoach UK‟s UK Coaching Framework. These figures are consistent with one in two coaches receiving some form of payment, which would bring UK sports coaching into line with other serious professions. Steve Cram, Chair of the Sportnation panel and a former world champion athlete, commented, “The report highlights that unless we can break the culture of „gentleman amateurism‟ in UK sport, we will struggle to become best in the world. As long as we continue rely on an army of grass-roots volunteers, with no clear career progression for home grown coaches, we will tend to look to superannuated foreign coaches to fill the top jobs in UK sport. If we don‟t act now to stem the endemic culture of volunteerism in UK sport, we may have already missed the coach for sporting success at London 2012.”


Athletics, badminton, cricket, football, gymnastics, hockey, netball, rowing, swimming, tennis, triathlon and volleyball. 1

A ‘culture of volunteerism’ The report finds that the „culture of volunteerism‟ in UK sports coaching creates a self-perpetuating social exclusion cycle wherein it is mainly white, middle-class men who can afford to volunteer their time, leading to an absence of role models for sportspeople from other groups. The lack of remuneration and clear career progression within coaching also risks a brain-drain of promising young British coaches to other professions, creating a reliance on importing foreign coaches to elite positions in UK sport. Unless a radical overhaul is made to investment in coaching, the report warns, the UK risks missing its stated aims of becoming the best place in the world for coaching by 2016; and the British Olympic Association its goal of Team GB rising from 10th in the medals table at the 2004 Athens Olympics to 4th by London 2012. Volunteerism and social exclusion The report identifies three principal factors that mean the prevalence of „volunteerism‟ promotes social exclusion within sports coaching and sport:  Child and family poverty – 30% of all children in the UK are classed by Government as living in poverty; in the UK‟s bottom 20% income group, 22% of children want to swim once a month but cannot afford to.2  The rise in one- parent families –23% of all children, and 54% of Black Caribbean families in the UK are now headed by a lone parent.  Working hours – More than one in eight people in the UK now work more than 48 hours a week; the UK has the highest proportion of dual-earner households in Europe. These factors add up to mean that only a self-selecting group of people can afford to give up their time as volunteer sports coaches, irrespective of ability. As one performance director who was interviewed claimed, “[My sport] is basically a white middle-class sport, so if a lot of [athletes in this sport] come from that background, then they‟re going to become coaches with the same middle-class values and background.” Another added that, “… if you keep on recruiting from within, you just get more of the same.” The researchers propose an alternative distribution of part-time or full-time equivalent paid versus volunteer coaches, that suggests that on current numbers, the deficit of paid professional sports coaches could be as high a 233,500, and runs to at least 160,000, taking into account the varied hours worked by part-timers and volunteers at present (See Figure 1 in Notes to Editors).


Source: Child Poverty Action Group, 2007. 2

They also propose an alternative model for coaching qualifications, building on Sportscoach UK‟s UK Coaching Framework but seeing the majority of untrained volunteers defined as „sport leaders‟ rather than qualified coaches (See Figure 2 in Notes to Editors). Hope Powell, manager of England women’s football team and a Sportnation panel member, said, “Women‟s football in particular would not be able to function without the many dedicated volunteers who do everything from taking training, to washing the kit and driving the minibus. But while volunteering is essential, as a society we need to place more value on professional sports coaching… and to recognise that to attract the best this needs to become a viable career choice.” David James, England goalkeeper and trustee of Access Sport, a charity which aims to increase youth participation at community sports clubs, concurred, “No one ever forgets an inspirational coach – mine was Brian Winter at Sir Frederic Osborn School, Hertfordshire. The Sportnation research shows that unless we act now to professionalise our coaching system from grass roots to elite sport stars, and draw inspirational coaches from all sections of society, British teams will continue to fall short in international competition.” Recommendations Deliberating on the report‟s findings, the Sportnation panel made the following recommendations: 1. A national debate is urgently required on the right balance between volunteers and professionals in the existing coaching system: while adding a quarter of a million additional paid coaches between now and 2016 may be too ambitious, a „quantum leap‟ in the number of paid for professional coaches is required, and the current Sportscoach UK targets of 42,000 additional paid professional coaches would not be sufficient. Separate targets are needed for coaches for disabled athletes. 2. Schools are the best mechanisms with which to reach the greatest number of children most efficiently with professionalized sports coaching: schools can be the „glue‟ that hold communities together in terms of providing a level playing field in access to sport. The panel recommended an immediate investment in 13,600 full-time equivalent professional coaches spread across 400 school based „multi-sports hubs‟ with 34 paid sports coaches each would make an immediate difference to participation and performance sport in local communities. These „hubs‟ would interact with clubs, coaching centres and national governing bodies in these communities. Similarly professionalized school sports coaching models in the USA and New Zealand, with peripatetic sports coaches moving between schools, were evoked. 3. A qualified endorsement for a coaching model in which untrained volunteers are recognised as ‘sports helpers’, not coaches, and which enables clear career progression from grassroots to elite level sports. While the significant contribution of volunteers was acknowledged, a

significant shake-up of the current coaching system was advocated, recognising that we may not have the right people within the current system and can not therefore simply pay existing volunteer coaches. Again, separate provision would need to be made for coaching disabled athletes. All panel members agreed that the issue of „volunteerism‟ in UK sport needs to be resolved urgently in the next 12 months – ahead of national coaching recruitment targets being set by Sportscoach UK in April 2009. --- Ends --Notes to editors For further information, please contact: Neil Daugherty, Debbie Howard or Hannah Crowley at Blue Rubicon on 020 7260 2700;;; Sportnation panel chairman Steve Cram; and Hope Powell, England women‟s football team manager and Sportnation panel member, will be available for interview on 21 and 22 January. To download a full copy of „Are we missing the coach for 2012?‟ please visit
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About Sportnation Formed in 2006, Sportnation is a think-tank made up of some of the most influential thinkers in British sport, business, academia and politics. An independent body, it is supported by the Lucozade Sports Science Academy. The Sportnation panel met on 12 November 2007. Its members include:  Steve Cram, Chairman – Chairman of the English Institute of Sport and Olympic gold medal winner.  Sir Craig Reedie, former British Olympic Association Chairman, and member of the IOC.  Hope Powell, England women‟s football manager.  Richard Caborn MP, former Minister for Sport.  Jon Callard, member of the England RFU coaching team; and former England Rugby Union player.  Micky Stewart, former England cricket manager.  Patrick Duffy, CEO, Sportscoach UK.  Dr. Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the English Institute of Sport.  Charlie Beauchamp, founder, AccessSport.  Jim Hicks, Head of Coaching at the Professional Footballers‟ Association.  Tim Lamb, Vice-Chair, Sportnation and Chairman, CCPR.  Chad Lion Cachet, CEO, Sportsworld.  Pinda Jagdev, Director PE/Sports at Langdon Sports College, Tower Hamlets.  Myles Downey, Director of Studies, School of Coaching in the UK.  Fiona Neale, Paralympian swimmer.  Stevie Nielson, Chairman, British Handball Association.  Graham Neale, Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare. 4

In its first year, the Sportnation think-tank created a national media debate around the reduced opportunities in performance sport in later life for children born later in the academic year, with the publication of the report, „A Sporting Chance‟.

Fig. 1: Hypothetical Scheme for a phased transition to a professional coaching structure Status of coach % of Actual total coach Phase 1: Phase 1: Phase 2: professional structure Phase 2: numbers of paid/ unpaid coaches Current paid coach deficit

transitional numbers of paid/ unpaid coaches

coach number structure es at prese nt F/T paid 7% 78,000 10%




P/T paid All paid

24% 277,000 30%




31% 355,000 40%

470,800 706,200

50% 50%

588,500 588,500 233,500

Volun-tary 69% 822,000 60% Base

1,177,000 coaches (Source: Sportscoach UK)

Fig. 2: Proposed coach development model Coaching Volunteer (Orientation) „sport leader‟ Qualification Level 0 Assistant Coach Level Qualified 1 Senior Assistant Coach Level 2 Qualified Coach Senior Coach Level Qualified 4 Master Coach Level 5 and Beyond

Level 3 Qualified

About the Lucozade Sports Science Academy The Lucozade Sport Science Academy (LSSA) was founded in 2003 to further our understanding of sports nutrition and share expertise to help improve athletes‟ sporting performance. Drawing on over 30 years of experience in sports nutrition research, we continue to work closely with leading coaches, elite athletes, academics and sports professionals to advance our knowledge and understanding of what it takes to succeed at the highest level. This year the LSSA is focusing on translating this expertise into high performance products and education to benefit serious and elite athletes.


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