July 2, 2013
Taskforce on Improving the Quality and Capacity of Sports Coaches

MEXT’s Taskforce on Improving the Quality and Capacity of Sports Coaches which MEXT Senior Vice Minister Teru Fukui set up has been developing appropriate sports coaching methods for a new era.
The Taskforce has compiled the report: Improving the Quality and Capacity of Sports Coaches -We Are Entrusted with ‘Sports’ by Future People, Appropriate Coaching Methods for a New Era- which has been submitted to MEXT Minister Hakubun Shimomura on 2nd, July 2013.

Summary of Taskforce Report on Improving the Quality and Capacity of Sports Coaches
- We Are Entrusted with ‘Sports’ by Future People, Appropriate Coaching Methods for a New Era-

Introduction

Sports in Japan have long been supported by the dedicated efforts of sports coaches for which the Taskforce expresses a deep respect. Through implementation of the proposals in this report, the Taskforce aims to create an environment which better supports coaches and will lead to the advancement of sports in Japan. This initiative also aims to realize Japan’s national strategy of becoming a Sport Nation.

1.Appropriate “Coaching” and “Coaches” for a new era

Definition of coaching and coaches in sports

-Every person has the right to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life through sport. The Olympic Charter defines contributing to the harmonious development of humankind through sports and respecting the educational value of sports as the fundamental principles of Olympism.
-The role of sports coaches is to provide maximum support so that players can achieve their goals. This report refers to all support activities as “coaching” and those who implement coaching as “coaches”.

Environmental changes surrounding sports

-As sports activities are carried out in public, people must observe society’s rules and standards.
-The Japanese sports community must have a strong common understanding again that violence by coaches must be eradicated.
-Coaching must correspond to today’s society, taking into account Japan’s declining birthrate, aging population, advancement in the information society and globalization.

Appropriate “Coaching” and “Coaches” for a new era

-Coaching appropriate for a new era means that coaching must be carried out with the constant awareness of it being social activity which is responsible for the future of the players and the sport itself. A coach appropriate for a new era means a person who is always conscious of this awareness in mind. Moreover, this mindset must be shared by the entire nation.
-Coaching must be carried out with the constant awareness of value of sports and advancement of its integrity. Coaching must not be enforced. It must always respect the player’s individuality and must encourage players’ subjective judgment and action. Coaching should not merely focus on the amount of practice, but must place importance on its quality and should observe society’s rules.
-In order to establish the social status of sports coaches and to contribute towards advancing sports in Japan, it is necessary to review again the true meaning and value of coaching which has led to the development of Japanese sports in light of Japanese traditional concepts which value a strong and trusting relationship between players and coachs, Budo featuring respect for others and self-restraint, the spirit of fair-play and sportsmanship.

2.Current situation and issues with respect to coaching and coaches

Coaching: current situation and issues

(1)Coaching in Japan and in the international community
Since coaching is a social activity, Japanese sports community must make efforts to restore the integrity.  In addition, international information must be gathered along with transmitting national information worldwide.
(2)Knowledge and skills needed for coaching
According to a survey of university students, many students still tolerate violence. At present, it is said that coaches lack sufficient learning in the fields of philosophy, ethics and communication skills. It is, therefore, necessary to create a common understanding of the knowledge and skills needed for coaching, and to examine ways for its implementation on-the-ground.
(3)Coaching children
It is not an easy matter to implement appropriate coaching corresponding to every child’s developmental stage. When coaching children, therefore, an especially high sense of ethics, knowledge and skill is needed.
(4)Coaching environment
By the collaboration of coaches, family members, managers and relevant parties who support athletes and teams (also referred to as an “Athlete Entourage”), it is possible to put the eyes of various parties on-site. Organizing a consultation service by a third party is also needed.

Coaches: current situation and issues

(1)Quality assurance of coaches
Since there are some coaches who have not complete specific training program, training programs such as university course studies need to be enhanced and increased. In addition, as some sports fields still do not have a qualification system, a systematic training system needs to be established. There is also a lack of coach diversity, with a very limited number of female coaches and organization officers.
(2)Continuing and interdisciplinary learning
In order for coaches to continue learning and expanding their perspective, learning methods and sufficient opportunities must be developed.
(3)Effective utilization of coaches
It is said that the utilization and treatment of coaches’ expertise is insufficient. As the assessment methods for the effective utilization of coaches are not harmonized, appreciating coaches who do coaching with a long-term perspective is also insufficient.
(4)Corresponding to globalization
Measures for domestically trained coaches to play an active part in overseas activities are needed.

3.Securing coaching and coaches appropriate for a new era (excerpts from main proposals)

Coaching: improvement measures

(1)Creating a system to reflect society’s opinions and global trends
-Examine creating the “Coaching Promotion Consortium” (provisional) with the collaboration of the state, independent administrative corporations, sports organizations, universities, and so on.
-Research on effective coaching, gather global information and transmit national information worldwide by independent administrative corporations, sports organizations, universities and so on.
(2)Clarifying  the  knowledge and skills needed for optimum coaching, and establishing measures to utilize them
-Sports organizations, universities and other organizations in collaboration with the state and independent administrative corporations will promote examining a core curriculum, and clarify the position of philosophy, ethics, intrinsic motivation and communication skills.
-Sports organizations, universities and other organizations will develop programs to utilize knowledge and skills on-the-ground through OJT.
(3)Creating coaching methods which consider long-term perspective coaching corresponding to children’s developmental stages
-Implementing measures based on “the research report on how school sports club ought to be”.
-The state and sports organizations will examine the creation of awards for coaches in charge of long-term perspective coaching.
(4)Opening up the coaching environment
-The state and sports organizations will take measures to improve the coaching environment through the collaboration of the Athlete Entourage.
-Sports organizations will consider the enrichment of the coaching assistance system, for example the creation of a mentor system.

Improving the quality and capacity of coaches

(1)Scheme to quality assurance of coaches
-The state, independent administrative corporations, sports organizations, universities and other organizations will examine assessment methods for a coach training system.
-Sports organizations will organize the qualification system whereby all sports coaches will be required to acquire, in principle.
-Sports organizations will work towards increasing the number of female coaches and organization officers.
(2)Developing and organizing methods and structures for continuing and interdisciplinary learning
-Sports organizations will create a system to assist in the continuing and interdisciplinary learning of coaches.
-The state, independent administrative corporations and umbrella organizations will establish a community of coaches from various sports fields.
(3)Measures to utilize coaches
-Implementation of coach matching and the appropriate treatment by sports organizations, local governments, universities, and so on.
-Assessment methods for utilizing coaches will be examined by the state, independent administrative corporations, sports organizations, universities, and so on.
(4)Producing globally active coaches in sports
-Sports organizations, universities and other organizations will work towards training and successively producing globally active coaches.

(Sports and Youth Bureau, Sports Promotion Division)