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Community Coaching Conference creates hype among the sector

09 August 2022

There was a buzz of activity on the Gold Coast last week with 58 sports coming together to learn about the Australian Sports Commission’s modern approach to community coaching.

Attendees from the Community Coaching Conference gather for group picture
More than 150 people representing 58 sports descended to the Gold Coast for the two-day conference

The two-day conference saw experts in research, diversity and inclusion, online learning and community sport share valuable insights, stories and ideas to help re-shape the future of grassroots sport.

"We’re here to celebrate the transition of the community coaching approach which has remained largely unchanged since 1979," Deputy General Manager at the Australian Sports Commission Kate Corkery said.

"We’re thrilled to have 58 sports represented. We know that no two sports are the same and the modern approach ensures that community coaches are empowered to deliver a fun, safe and inclusive experience for all participants no matter their motivation for participating in sport."

Renowned Athletics Coach Sharon Hannon joined a panel with Pararoos star Ben Sutton, Australian Boxing legend Jamie Pittman and Founder of the Women’s Coaching Association Aish Ravi to highlight the impact this new approach can have.

"You realise that a lot of what this [approach] involves is what took me 20 years to learn and understand," Hannon said.

"It’s all about how you communicate [with participants] and keep engaging with the people in front of you then you’ll learn a whole lot more about what motivates them, what bothers them or what worries them."

Hannon is an advocate for the people-first approach and has embedded this throughout her entire career – from coaching school children in Cairns to Gold Medallist Sally Pearson.

"We need to get a lot more people through at the grassroots level…and nurture them through…and help them believe that they can be whoever they want to be…as they might turn out to be a superstar."

Associate Professor in Physical Education and Sport Shane Pill was among a line-up of academics to share some startling statistics about the current sporting landscape, proving that now is a pivotal time to make a change.

"We are one of the least physically active countries in the world, so we face declining standards of health, declining standards of wellbeing, declining standards of community emotional and social connection if we don’t do something about it," Pill said.

"It’s incredibly important to improve the quality of coaching in Australia so that there’s greater retention, particularly at the adolescent level."

Over the coming weeks attendees will share their learnings with their sport and start the groundwork on improving the experience for both coaches and participants.

"For Gymnastics Australia this is particularly important as we’re working through the requirements for the Change the Routine Human Rights Commission Report. We’re looking at ways we can drive cultural change and best support our coaches to deliver safe environments," Senior Manager for Learning and Development at Gymnastics Australia Tom Finch said.

"So it’s been fantastic to learn more about the community coaching space and speak with others NSOs about how we’re going to start implementing some of these changes."

To learn more about the modern coaching approach, head to the Community Coaching page.

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