Contextology – is this a new approach to effective coaching?

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Ian Jeffreys

Effective coaching is a constant battle for improvements, enhancing the quality of our coaching interactions and interventions, with the goal of developing the performance of our athletes. We have never before had so much information to ensure our approach is evidence-based. And yet anyone who has spent any time coaching in strength and conditioning knows that, despite this plethora of information, coaching remains a land of paradoxes and nothing like the theoretical utopia we are often presented with when studying the subject. The evidence-based approach we have spent hours developing doesn’t produce the results we expect, and yet a far weaker programme on paper does. An autocratic style of coaching actually gets results in some scenarios, yet the exact same approach results in a toxic environment in others. We present our athletes with clear facts about the benefits they will gain from following the programme, yet they continue not to engage with strength and conditioning. How do we explain these paradoxes and more importantly what can we do to address them?

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