It is a common perception in Zambia that the country has great athletic talent, but poor coaches. Coach education is scarce in Zambia, and by many seen as a main obstacle for improved sport performance. Having worked with sport coaches in Zambia for almost a decade I clearly see the rational behind this sentiment. Together with colleagues from National Sport Associations, the National Sport Council, the Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sport and the University of Zambia, we are trying to move this discussion along by looking at sport coaching from a more local perspective. This includes getting a better understanding of the contextual needs presented by athletes and coaches, adopting a more practical and field-based approach to coach development, and assuming a more learner centered focus instead of the current strive to please and serve international governing bodies and adhere to global standards.
The establishing of a national coaches’ council (ZamCoach360) which will work to compliment the Sport Associations’ efforts to increase quality and recognition of their sport coaches is one of the country's initiatives created to address these coaching needs. In 2017 and 2018 ZamCoach360 partnered with ICCE, the Olympic family of Zambia, Norway, Japan, through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Legacy Program ‘Sport for Tomorrow’, and the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Program to finance and provide technical support for a ICCE Coach Developer training for selected experienced coaches and technical directors from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. This training covered key elements of the ICCE’s Coach Developers (CD) Facilitators Module, and was conducted in two one-week residential courses with a period for practice and reflection in between. Being one of the first times that the CD Facilitator module is being offered in isolation, and the first time an ICCE coach developer training has been conducted on the African continent, we were fortunate to have adequate time to allow flexibility in the program. The desired outcome was, in addition to the facilitation training, to share knowledge and ideas on coach development between experts in similar coaching contexts, and to stimulate the development of learner-centered coach development tailored to the participants’ sport-specific situations.
The training was facilitated by ICCE trained Coach Developers from Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport (NIF), PGA Canada and the NSSU Coach Developer Academy (NCDA) in Japan and from ICCE. In addition to these we had the privilege to engage a guest speaker, Dr. Hikabwa Chipande from the University of Zambia, who did a tremendous job to help us reflect on the marriage of globally recognized methods from the ICCE coach developer framework and local sport contextual needs and practices. His presentation of historical and cultural issues that affects the way sport coaching is run in current southern Africa helped us “glocalize” the training. The presentation included issues around colonialism, cultural hegemony and cultural dualism, and provided valuable insight to possible reasons to why global standards developed in global north are somewhat over-valued by the global south, and that important additions should be considered on order to improve the local relevance in Zambia.
The overall feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and their reported levels of confidence as facilitators evident that the training was rather fruitful. Thanks to the experienced participants and facilitators we successfully created a good learning environment, allowing us all to be stretched out of our comfort zone and actively own the training.
Many countries like Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Zambia are in the process of “glocalizing” their national coach education systems, including the way they train and apply Coach Developers. It was therefore extremely valuable to have Dr. Masa Ito and Dr. Sarodo from NCDA share both philosophical and cultural issues that affects their work in Japan. A description of these development processes from the various contexts would in my view be very helpful complimentary attachments to the ICCE CD Framework down the line.
We are really grateful to ICCE and to all the partners for the support that allowed this to take place. We want to thank all the facilitators, local and international, for their excellent job and huge commitment to the development of CD’s in the region. Dr. Sarodo Shigeki, NSSU Coach Developer Academy (NCDA), Dr. Masamitsu Ito, NCDA, Dr. Hikabwa Chipande, University of Zambia (UNZA), Glenn Cundari, PGA Canada, Penny Crisfield, ICCE and Pelle Kvalsund, Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport.
We look forward to continue the work with our partners to provide more learning opportunities for coaches and coach developer in Zambia and southern Africa in years to come.