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Level 4 Case Study: Doug Cooper

Meet Doug Cooper who shares his reasons for undertaking the Level 4 Performance Coaching programme and the impact this has had on his coaching. 

I work at Glenmore Lodge where I deliver all aspects of Sea and White Water coaching and courses…

The majority of my time is spent on Coach Education and Leadership Courses. My paddlesport background has always been non-competitive, focusing on exploration, expeditions and fun. This has led to expeditions and paddling trips throughout the UK and across the world.

I signed up to the Level 4 programme as I felt I had not had the opportunity to get some input on my coaching for a lot of years…

I had strong beliefs and thoughts but had not had them checked and challenged in a robust way. I enjoy the theoretical aspect of coaching and was keen to be exposed to this further and explore new concepts and ideas. My motivation was purely to learn, be challenged and develop personally. I did not need the award, but I wanted the learning!

All aspects of the programme were amazing, each one opening up new thinking and insights into what I do and why I do it. The two key areas for me were the whole socio-psychological side of coaching, including coach-athlete relationships and motivational climate, and then decision making and how it is at the heart of what coaches do.

The best bits were numerous but the residential days where we got a chance to share thinking with our peers were invaluable...

In a strange way, I found the assignments the best bit as well! It forced us to focus our thinking and bring it all together. This has had a huge impact on my coaching. It has definitely helped me understand myself as a coach and help me realise what I value and believe in. This has given me confidence in what I do but helped me realise why some things are easier for me than others. It has given me greater depth of understanding to what I do but most importantly has developed and changed how I do it. My coaching has changed how I structure practice, how I interact with my learners, how I make decisions, viewing coaching through multiple lenses and developed my coach education delivery. 

My next steps…

I have just finished my MSc, which again, was amazing. It allowed me to focus on the socio-psychological side of coaching including coach-athlete relationships and motivational climate – in particular, an empowerment based motivational climate. Beyond that – who knows, but the learning will continue and I should now have a bit more time to focus on applying all I have learnt to date and sharing the new found knowledge with others.

Since completing the Level 4 Performance Coaching Programme, I’ve been sharing the knowledge through a regular ‘Coaching Corner’ article in Scottish Paddler, as well as some delivery on Sport Scotland’s ‘Coaching Futures’ programme. I have also been involved with organising and running Scotland’s first Adventure Sports Coaching Conference and Scotland’s first Woman in Adventure Sport Conference.