COACH! Knowledge is 4U

Written by Jacek Stodółka (AZS AWF Wrocław), Kamila Czajka (AWF Wroclaw) and Grzegorz Zurek (AWF Wroclaw) / Poland

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© Kamila Czajka

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Introduction 

The last decade of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century was a period of creation and development of the information society, also known as the knowledge society. The knowledge of an individual is replaced by the ability to work in a team. By using the teamwork skills, various projects are being developed. One of such projects is the KidMove Project, aimed at co-creating and supporting good coaching practices in the field of sport for schoolchildren; one of the most important good practices is to have an activator coach.

What is the origin of the term activator and what do we mean by it?

The term activator is of Latin origin and covers information on chemistry, physics, and genetics. Synonyms to the word „activator“ are impresario, mentor, guardian, patron, promoter, protector. 

The synonyms for the phrase „activate“ are in groups:

– Activate, awaken, stir up,
– accelerate, gain speed, gain momentum, enliven, accelerate,
– generate, obtain, produce, create, induce, trigger,
– stimulate.

Activator – talent or skill?

By „talent“, we mean a typically repetitive pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving. Talent can be used productively. Skill is an experience in some area, practical knowledge of something. When we use our strengths, potential, and key talents, we become more decisive in our actions and choices and more open to challenges. According to the Gallup Institute (www.gallup.com), an activator is one of the 34 talents. Talent ‚activator‘ helps in convincing, motivating others and influencing someone’s decisions. People with an activator talent simply act, realize ideas and turn thoughts into actions.
Activators like to start actions and initiatives. After deciding, the action starts immediately. They are not afraid of taking risks. Sports activators understand the expectations of the community and customers in terms of physical culture. They promote and apply activities that help entire communities to change their behaviour towards an active lifestyle. So, is it a talent or a skill?

Coach activator – a new profession or additional duties for a coach?

In Poland, we have adapted many such terms from more developed countries and quickly moved on to the agenda. In sport, we have permanently established: a personal coach, a sports manager, a coach of movement preparation, coach statistician, an analyst coach, a scout, a fitness coach, and others. Among this group of trainers appeared an activator coach. This is a new concept in Polish sport and thus a new role to play. In the field of entrepreneurship, the activator is more widely known and increasingly sought after.

What are the daily tasks of the activator trainer? 

Plans attractive training activities, sessions, and programs in a safe environment. Provides feedback on work efficiency and helps improve performance techniques. Collaborates with young people, schools, social groups, and sports organizations to promote sport. In collaboration with young people involved in sports, he develops fundamental training programs, works to develop more advanced techniques and tactics supporting performers during events and competitions. At the national or international level, he designs difficult and diverse training programs, supervises the physical condition and mental attitude of the individuals he trains. He cooperates with sports experts such as sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and program managers. He is a mentor to other trainers.

What are the competences of the coach activator?

Competences are essentially a combination of three main components: knowledge, skills and responsibility. The competences of an activator coach are manifested in subsequent areas:

  • Leadership – indicates directions and motivates others, influences the attitudes and behavior of individuals and groups in order to achieve specific goals.
  • Commitment and motivation – show personal support for the project and induces commitment and support for the project among interested.
  • Assertiveness – formulates one’s views and expectations in a convincing and decisive way.
  • Creativity – thinks and acts in an original and creative way.
  • Result-orientedness – focuses the team’s attention on key objectives in order to achieve an optimal result for those involved.
  • Effectiveness – uses time and resources efficiently.
  • Credibility – fulfills his promises, is responsible, promotes appropriate behavior, is trustworthy and self-confident.
  • Values appreciation – understands personal, organizational and social values.
  • Ethics – ensures that the trust of all interested parties and society is gained and maintained.

Conclusion

An Activator Coach is a talent of influence and authority in strategic management that helps in

  • interpersonal communication,
  • passing on your ideas,
  • convincing others to act,
  • making quick decisions.

All these qualities should be considered as highly desirable in the realization of good practice in working with children and young people in a sports club. The recognition of the coach activator in the international team responsible for the KidMove project as one of the key coaching practices in the field of youth sports, the use of knowledge on this subject gained from foreign reports and national experiences from the labour market help define the role and tasks of the coach activator. It seems that the competences, responsibilities, and tasks of a coach activator perfectly relate to the synonyms for the phrase to activate.

We assume that the conclusions from the work of the whole KidMove team will contribute to the development of competences of the present training staff of young athletes and will become the foundation for the education of future coaches as activators.

We invite you to discuss the role and competencies of coach as an activator in sport, and to cooperate in the training (education) program of sports activators.


Authors

Jacek works as professor at the University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw (Poland), he is also President of the Academic Sport Club AZS-AWF Wroclaw, master class coach in athletics, author and co-author of several dozen publications, monographs and two academic textbooks on physical culture.

Kamila works as an assistant professor at the University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw (Poland); she enjoys giving lectures and workshops, especially on the human anatomy of the motor system and human motor skills. She is interested in physical activity and healthy lifestyle. He loves spending her free time being active; she runs and swims a lot, in the winter season he skis and skates.

Grzegorz is a professor at the University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw (Poland). He conducts classes in mental training, neuroscience and human anatomy. He is interested in contemporary history and economic changes in the world; he is physically active, swimming and cycling.


AZS-AWF Wroclaw was established in 1976 and from the beginning of its existence was focused on professional sport and training of students and seniors. Currently, there are sporting activities for children and about 1200 children and adolescents in age 4-18, have a possibility to do many kinds of sports. The club has extensive experience in organizing different kind of sport events at the national and international level, as well as many big recreational events.


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* The Gallup Institute is the oldest public opinion research institute in the world, founded in 1935 by George Gallup. It helps leaders and organizations to solve their most pressing problems (www.gallup.com, entry date 19.01.2020).