Evaluation of a Life Skill Coach Development Programme in Primary School Physical Education

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PE is an ideal context to foster life skill development. Life skills are skills that are developed in one context, such as PE, and applied in another, such as the home. Primary PE coaches are often expected to plan and deliver lessons that prioritise holistic and life skill development, despite their limited understanding of life skill development and associated coaching behaviours. Kirkpatrick’s (1959, 1976, 1996) training evaluation model was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a Life Skills Coach Development Programme, aimed at enhancing primary PE coaches’ ability to embed life skills in lessons. The model is conceptualised across four levels: reaction, learning, behaviour, and results.

Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and unstructured observations. Eleven primary school P.E. coaches were recruited from a community football foundation (CFF). Fifty-nine unstructured PE lesson observations were conducted. Due to participant attrition, one semi-structured interview was conducted with eight of eleven participants. A modified form of thematic analysis was used to analyse data.

Themes were based on the four levels of Kirkpatrick’s model. The Reaction theme contained two subthemes; ‘Experience of the Coach Development Programme’, and ‘Proposed alterations to Coach Development Programme’. The Learning theme contained two subthemes; ‘Understanding of the research project and its purpose’, and ‘Understanding of life skill development’. The Behaviour theme contained three subthemes; ‘Application of new knowledge’, ‘Non-application of new knowledge’, and ‘Utilising the life skill lesson resources’. The Results theme contained two subthemes; ‘Change in coaching behaviours’ and ‘P.E. prioritisation and project legacy’.

Coaches expressed how programme involvement was novel and engaging. The autonomy-supportive climate and situated learning environment facilitated improvements in their coaching practice and enhanced their understanding of life skills. Yet application of this knowledge in PE lessons could be inconsistent. To improve the programme, coaches recommended greater communication between the CFF and schools about the project and advocated for more peer learning opportunities. Overall, there was an increase in coaching behaviours that promoted life skill development post-programme, as coaches planned and delivered lessons in which life skills were embedded. Coaches noted that lasting changes to their practice may be threatened by the low prioritisation of PE in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2024
Event29th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science Annual Meeting (ECSS) - Glasgow , United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20245 Jul 2024
Conference number: 29


Conference29th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science Annual Meeting (ECSS)
Abbreviated titleECSS 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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