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Academics present innovative sports coaching research at international conference

THE complex journey that sport coaches often encounter while developing their craft was the subject of innovative research presented at an international conference by two academics of the University of Chichester.

A specialist investigation focusing on creating coaching philosophy and epistemological beliefs was undertaken by senior lecturers Matt Berry and Ed Christian of the Outdoor and Adventure Education and Physical Education programmes.

The findings of the study were presented across two days at the high-profile British Canoeing Coaching conference attended by more than 200 instructors from foundation to Olympic-level.

Mr Berry is himself an active adventure coach in a variety of sports and has edited two text books in the field of adventure education and sports coaching which have been adopted by universities and colleges worldwide.

Matt BerryHe said: “At a time when those from the field suggest they gain little from the coach education process, the event focused on exploring the learning journey of coaches, scaffolding learning, and developing practice to improve participant experiences.”

The research by the University lecturers was positively received by the high-level coaches of adventure sports who attended the conference which included world-renowned expert Professor John Lyle of Leeds Beckett University.

A three-hour interactive workshop was organised by Mr Berry and Mr Christian explained how the research might inform how to educate the next generation of adventure sports coaches.

Mr Christian, an active paddlesport coach and coach educator, specialises in the areas of sport and exercise psychology and motor control and has authored book chapters and research papers in these areas.

He added: “The workshop explored the learning journey of the model or expert coach and explored aspects of coaching practice and expertise.

“It also looked at how coaches can ‘scaffold’ their learning and create supportive learning mechanisms. This research is currently informing the work of the Adventure Education and Physical Education departments at the University of Chichester.”

To find out more about the research investigation undertaken by Matt Berry and Ed Christian go to

Alternatively for more about the British Canoeing Coaching conference visit