By Professor Emmanuel Ojeme
We have discussed Abedi Pele Ayew’s position on coaches’ certification in which he overtly stated that a good coach does not need certificate to practice. Such a statement, coming from a respected and distinguished footballer, is definitely considered a key position which can have far reaching impact on coaches’ education and training, if it is not properly put on the scale. This column has taken the burden of undertaking a critical analysis of this position statement for the goodness of coaches’ professional development and football as a sports activity. This paper attempts a restatement, and synopsis of the main issues.
Why does a coach need sound education and training? Being an excellent footballer is a critical factor in coaching for those of them who choose that career. My position is that playing the game and managing or coaching, pose different challenges. And anyone who wishes to choose coaching as a career must be properly educated and trained. So it is with all professions — nursing, law, medicine, engineering, sports equipment and facilities manufacturing and agriculture etc. All respected professions do have mandatory occupational socialization and internship processes to enable the intending practitioner become acquainted with the cognate knowledge, skills and ethics of the profession.
The coaching profession is notoriously reputed to be one area of human endeavour with one of the shallowest depth of education and training for their members even when they do not possess prerequisites
Most coaches fall back to their experience as players or athletes; always quoting or referring to their games or ex-international engagements. While these are vital elements, it should be said that an occupation based on this kind of background as its main cognate requirement leaves much to be desired. Definitely, depth of decision making, creative ability and imagination and critical thinking faculties will lack the resourcefulness that is fundamentally nourished by a trained and educated intellect.
Why will a coach not even endeavour or attempt to possess a first degree in addition to the usual coaching license, wherever it is acquired? Have you listened to some coaches’ level of communication competences, analyses and interpretation of games, social relations, ethical conduct and understanding of the multivariate factors that affect sports? The apparent lack of proper education or lack of belief in it, as Abedi Ayew’s statements suggest, diminishes the level and quality of coaching, its professional status as well as the entire gamut of sporting activities.
Without a sound Ordinary level, SSCE and Diploma, a short time coaching certificate is not even enough to prepare an individual for any serious minded profession that wishes to make indelible or significant contributions to human and sociocultural development. Those who manage sports must raise the bar of pre-requisite qualifications for prospective practitioners. This is the way or culture of all reputable professions.
This is the way coaches should go to stand on a firm pedestal as they manipulate sports performance variables to achieve results of greater significance and relevance to society. Coaches indeed, need a lot of education, training and certificates. It is my hope that this paper has presented a more competitive and productive argument that would make coaches more educated, trained and professionalized for the good of their level of human development, job performance, players development and society at large.