Jul 9 / Warren Lucas

The importance of Coaches to improve their knowledge in Sports Sciences

What does research say about coaches with knowledge in the Sports Sciences?

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa exists to translate, simplify and embed science in sporting and health practice. Our content is evidence-based, up-to-date, understandable, and created by industry experts. Our main aim at SSISA is to ensure that all within the Sport Sector have access to knowledge that could assist them in their sporting practice, regardless of their designations (coach, sport scientist, sport administrator, clinician, sport development practitioner, and alike).

With a focus on sports coaches, they have a critical function in the growth and success of athletes. Therefore, it is crucial for coaches to be knowledgeable about sports science practices. This is because sports science knowledge can enhance their coaching skills and improve athletes' performance. In fact, research supports this notion, as a study by Kubayi et al. (2018) highlighted the importance of sports science knowledge in coaching (1).

Research suggests that incorporating sports science principles into coaching education programmes can lead to practical benefits for both coaches and athletes (1). Coaches who utilize sports science knowledge can help players acquire skills more effectively, ultimately enhancing their performance (2). Beyond technical know-how, there is a growing recognition of the importance of transferring sports science knowledge to coaches at all levels, including grassroots programmes (3). This highlights the need for coaches to understand and apply sports science principles to improve coaching and management systems (3).

Additionally, experts emphasize that coaches should possess knowledge not only of the sport and its participants but also of the relevant sports sciences to be effective in their roles (4). Despite the acknowledged importance of sports science in coaching, there are challenges in transferring this knowledge effectively. Studies have shown that the transfer of sports science knowledge to coaches can be difficult (Mavvidis et al., 2018). However, there is a consensus among high-performance coaches that sports science plays a crucial role in achieving success in sports (5). Coaches who have access to sports science information are more likely to engage in effective coaching behaviours (6). 

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It is with this in mind that SSISA Research Digest was created. It caters to coaches, sports administrators, athletes, clinicians, and sport scientists, keeping sports professionals informed and up-to-date with the latest insights within our field. SSISA Research Digest stands apart from traditional learning methods. It allows coaches the freedom of learning on-the-go, as coaching schedules are usually jam-packed.

With a monthly subscription to SSISA Research Digest - Coaches, Athletes, Sports Administrators, Sport Scientists, and Clinicians are able to access our range of content offerings, which include:

  • Research Applied Masterclasses
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are designed to provide insights into specific sporting concepts. We work with industry experts (both at SSISA and UCT Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre). Our online short courses are CPD accredited covering a wide variety of topics. Earn a certificate of accreditation for each of our courses in their fields of Biokinetics, Sports Science, High Performance Sport, Nutrition and Early Child Development. 

To summarise, it is vital for sports coaches to incorporate sports science practices into their coaching in order to optimize athlete performance and enhance their own effectiveness. By understanding sports science concepts, coaches can better support their athletes in acquiring skills and improving their performance. Thus, it is crucial for sports coaches to be knowledgeable about and apply sports science practices in order to excel in their roles.
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  1. Kubayi A, Coopoo Y, Toriola A. Analysis of sport science perceptions and research needs among South African coaches. South African Journal of Sports Medicine. 2018 Oct 9;30(1):1–4. 
  2. Daly D, Donnelly R. Data analytics in performance of kick-out distribution and effectiveness in senior championship football in Ireland. Journal of Sports Analytics. 2017 Jan 31;4(1):15–30
  3. Muslichah R, Ermamilia A, Penggalih M, Prabandari Y, Sabirin R, Wibowo R, et al. Improving coaches and parents’ knowledge and attitude towards sport sciences implementation: a community-based program in football schools (SSB) in Sleman. Journal of Community Empowerment for Health. 2024 Apr 19;7(1):33.
  4. Blumenstein B, Orbach I. Professional Coach: The Link between Science and Media. Sport Science Review. 2016 May 24;25(1–2):73–84.
  5. Reade I, Rodgers W, Spriggs K. New Ideas for High Performance Coaches: A Case Study of Knowledge Transfer in Sport Science. Int J Sports Sci Coach. 2008;3(3).
  6. Reade I, Rodgers W. A publication from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), an association in the American Alliance for Health [Internet]. Vol. 2. 2009. Available from: www.NASPEinfo.org
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