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Introduction ~ MSc Intern @CoachingHIOW

Steve EversfieldFirstly can I start by saying a public thank you to CJ Lee for agreeing to have me on board to work with the Coaching HIOW team.

So who am I and what am I doing? My name is Steve Eversfield, I have played hockey for about 30 years and having started with a short dalliance as a goal keeper I have played outfield for the majority of my career. As an England Hockey Level 2 coach holding the Bronze Goalkeeping coach award, a RFU Level 1 coach and a MIAS Level 4 Mountain Bike Instructor, I am currently studying for an MSc in Performance Coaching. Supporting my interest in coach development I have recently taken on the mantel of Club Development Officer at Gosport Borough Hockey Club and remain an active coach at club level and I am coaching the hockey goalkeepers of the future in the England Hockey Single System here in Hampshire.

My MSc study is where the link to Coaching HIOW comes in as I enter my research project. I approached CJ to get involved in the various interesting projects being looked at by Coaching HIOW and hope to research an area that may be of interest and benefit to us all. The actual subject of my research is yet to be finalised but it will probably be based around coach development, mentoring, learning, behaviour change and how we might be able to utilise different learning methods and whether different approaches can increase the retention of new ideas or skills. Much of this is likely to follow on from some of the interesting ideas at this year’s UK Coaching Summit.

As this is hopefully the first of several Blogs I will write over the next year or so I thought it would be good to give you a little of my philosophy as a coach and as a development officer;

Firstly as a coach and a military man I like to keep my coaching philosophy simple; Disciplined, Honest, Respectful, Creative coaching to the finish.
• Discipline is about making sure that as a coach or participant you are there on time ready to train be that as the participant or having planned and prepared the session.
• Honesty is between the participant and the coach, how well have they achieved the aim, reflection and feedback.
• Respectful in all conversation and communication. Discussions should be challenging to prompt development, but at all times remain relevant and respectful.
• Creative coaching breeds enthusiasm within participants but should mean that participants need to search for solutions during coaching and therefore reinforce their learning.
• And to the finish – How often do you see a player stop a drill when something goes wrong? In my view this just leads to players that are unable to generate a solution when things don’t go to plan.

Secondly; as a development officer my philosophy is that; the coach/mentor is there for each and every individual. We owe those individuals utmost respect as an athlete/fellow coach and we show this by delivering the best possible advice and guidance as recompense for the trust that the individual places in us. All of this we must do whilst planning for the future.
• Participant centred coaching/mentoring; I deliberately say the coach/mentor is there for the individual because, even within a team, I believe the coach/mentor needs to know and understand each and every individual to be able to piece together the team and deliver the best experience for all.
• Respect; remember that everything you do is because the individual is there. They choose to turn up and train or deliver coaching for you. If they didn’t then you would have no one to develop.
• The best possible advice and guidance; I would ask you all; When did you last do some personal coach education that was not just core requirements? When did you last challenge the drill, the process, the course you last completed? Do you have a mentor? And ultimately, when did you last admit to an individual that you had taken them as far as you could within your own capability?
• Planning for the future, this is not just about planning for the athlete’s future, but includes workforce succession planning and community engagement planning. How can we progress an individual or grow a club if we don’t have the capacity in the workforce (you the coaches) to take them forward and we all know upskilling can take 12 – 18 months. And finally if we wish to increase participation we must plan how we engage with the community and any delivery requirements they may have that are different from those we recognise on a club or NGB basis.

I look forward to hearing from many of you along the way, so please comment below with any ideas or views and I ask that you remember that unless expressly stated the views I share are my own and where I may be challenging and at worst antagonistic it is meant without offence and within the spirit of discussion and development. I ask you to remember two key questions, So What? and Why? When we can no longer answer these questions then we will have thought through the question in hand and will be ready to generate a solution.

And finally a slightly adapted quote from a good military man (Sir Basil Liddell-Hart); The hardest part of getting a new idea into a coach or players head is to get the old one out!

Thanks all, hope to speak to some of you soon