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Evaluating and improving coach education provision across European football

The Challenge

In late 2014, Leeds Beckett University was commissioned to undertake a review of the UEFA Coaching Convention. The Convention is UEFA’s European-wide endorsement framework for national association higher level coaching qualifications in football including the Pro, A and B licences. Successful candidates include many high-profile football coaches and players.

The aim of the research was to describe the current take-up of the Convention qualifications across all 54 European national associations, understand each national associations’ experiences, want and needs from the Convention; undertake a high-level evaluation of the Convention; and make recommendations for its future improvement and evolution.

Leeds Beckett University demonstrated a good understanding of our complex needs and became an invaluable partner to us, helping us define our expectations more clearly. We were more than happy with the comprehensive process, the friendly cooperation, and the constructive outcome of this study. Despite the time constraints they delivered a very professional study, which considerably helped us to define our future priorities

Frank K. Ludolph, Head of Football Education Services, UEFA

The Research

The study involved secondary data analysis and interviews with the UEFA expert Jira Panel, other European experts in coaching and coach education and development, and all 54 of UEFA’s national associations. The research engaged with the very highest level of European coaching expertise in football including technical directors and coach educators.

In total, 138 data collection exercises were undertaken between November 2014 and July 2015, in many different languages, involving hundreds of hours of discussion and resulting in one of the most comprehensive international evaluations of coach education ever performed.

The Impact

The final report identified a number of recommendations, however, UEFA focused on three aspects in particular: improvements in provision for coach developers who are the front-line deliverers of coach education across Europe; improvements in the mechanisms established for, and take-up of, continuing professional development; and greater clarification of, and education around, the practice/reality based learning concept.

These recommendations were unambiguously adopted and communicated by UEFA at the 2015 UEFA Coach Education Workshop in Bratislava in which all 54 nations were in attendance, and continue to be a key part of their coach education improvements.