The CD experience has been instrumental in shaping my ideas and practices over the past 6 months. It has taken me a good bit of time, many long runs and long conversations with colleagues to really wrap my head around where I am in the coach developer space. It complicates things to be both ahead and behind at the same time and to be straddling a line between two worlds.
Being in the United States, there is an internal and external assumption that we are on the cutting edge or leading things. From an internal perspective this seems to come from either a naivety or an arrogance mindset – or perhaps a bit of both – related to the understanding (or lack of true understanding) of the sport culture, the wide range of contexts within that culture and training/ professional preparation expectations and realities. Since 2006, when I accepted one of the few US university positions in the field of coaching education, I have been following the professional development of the field and I have sought out international opportunities to learn from peers. While I am working to be a leader in the field within my country, I am keenly aware that I am just a beginner when I look at my international colleagues. And I struggle with conversations with peers and even more learned scholars who have expertise in a topic area who think that what they do is ‘coaching education’ but are unaware of the broader field and don’t realize that what they do is only a small piece of the discipline. This sense of ‘this is it’ over ‘this is a part of it’ has played a huge role, in my opinion, in the lack of growth of the field within the United States. Participating the CD experience has helped me embrace a true leadership role and helped give me the confidence I needed to do so.
The second struggle has been with defining where I am on the continuum of CD. Actually in many ways it has helped give me clarity about what the continuum is as well. I am in a unique position, given my multiple hats. I have opportunities both within and outside my university, to be a developer of coaches in many contexts. I am a part of their educational journey and development. I am also, a developer of coach developers, with a very unique opportunity to train graduate students interested in being leaders in the coach preparation and support space. Being a part of the CD experience has given me a fresh perspective and a new pedagogical approach in my work with the former. But the most meaningful part of the CD experience for me, by far, has been the influence it has had in shaping the work I am doing to try to create a paradigm shift in the area of developing coach developers. Within my academic position it is shaping essential graduate level program changes I am making. It is influencing the research and service based work I am doing with sport organizations as I work with them regarding their coaching education programs. And on a national level, it has provided me with the platform I needed in launching the United States Center for Coaching Excellence, an organization designed to lead the coaching education paradigm shift within the US sport culture.
Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D., CC AASP #193 WVU – College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Athletic Coaching Education, Associate Professor Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Science, Director Athletic Coaching Education Masters Program – on campus, Coordinator