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  • Norman Brook

The Journey from Competency to Capability

Top sports coaches are innovative, finding new approaches to the train and prepare their teams and athletes, and in the process helping them to achieve a competitive advantage.  Good coaches possess practical coaching skills, knowledge and understanding of their sport, and demonstrate appropriate attitude, values and conduct.  Top coaches move to higher levels by reflecting on their coaching practice, solving problems and creating new and innovative approaches to coaching.  Top coaches move beyond competency and demonstrate capability.

The following diagram helps explain this journey from competency to capability.

The Journey from Competency to Capability (Applied Competency)

The Journey from Competency to Capability (Applied Competency)


When a coach has achived a minimal standard of coaching by demonstrating that they can perform a coaching tasks in predetermined contexts to a prescribed standard, they are considered to possess practical competency.

If a coach can demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of what they are doing when performing coaching tasks and why they are doing them, they can be said to possess foundational competency.

Reflective competence is where the coach is able to take his/her coaching to a new level by adapting their skills and knowledge to unfamiliar issues situations and also being able to explain their adaptations.  They are able to reflect on their coaching practice, develop it to new levels, and  bring innovative approaches to their coaching.

This development over time of practical, foundational and reflective competence will see improving standards of coaching practice. Coaches progressing from recognised minimal standards to new standards of applied coaching competence or capabilty.

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