The Professional Development (Coaching Science) programme is designed to allow coaches from all sporting environments to develop their practice and professional network by completing a range of portfolio projects negotiated in partnership with personal tutors from Hartpury College’s HE Sport department. Portfolio projects can be completed by individuals or may form a component of a group effort with coaches working together to investigate an aspect of personal practice before creating an output, such as a report or presentation, that can be published to the wider coaching community. These portfolios can therefore focus on part of the learner’s current workplace responsibilities or be used to plan future ventures directly linked to the coach’s environment and career progression plans.
This innovative approach to postgraduate study allows coaches to focus their research on a number of possible coaching contexts including teaching, coach education and supporting high performance athletes, and therefore to design their own powerful professional development experiences. Core coaching modules are studied alongside students completing the MSc Coaching Science programme, allowing valuable sharing of perspectives and resources across and amongst two related courses that each have individual development needs and group collaboration as their key concern.
All students complete three core modules that focus on the craft of coaching practice, and related areas of concern such as coach philosophy, language, behaviour and planning. Whilst involved in these key debates coaches will also be developing a personal learning plan via an appreciation of reflective practice. These experiences are collated in a Professional Development Portfolio with discussions amongst learning peers and with personal tutors central to this course component. Upon completion of the programme’s core modules students qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate and may choose to continue their studies via focused research into a single coaching context (perhaps due to it mirroring their current workplace or career aspirations) or through study of a broader range of topics, each negotiated by themselves and their tutor. Completion of this phase of the programme sees students eligible for a Postgraduate Diploma and able to carry out an extended final project that once successfully completed results in the award of a Master’s degree.
Module delivery will be supported by a range of student-centred approaches (e.g. distance learning and practice-based activities) and will include peer learning sets which could be face-to-face and/or supported electronically. The programme design team is committed to adult learning approaches that include the development of learning contracts and critical and independent enquiry for the coaching practice-based elements. Assessment methods reflect adult learning principles also, allowing students to shape and develop academic work that focuses on current coaching practice and personal development. Students will benefit from an enhanced learning experience by engaging in a variety of creative teaching mediums such as mentorship, peer modelling, reflective discussion, video observation feedback and experiments in practice.
The programme can be completed full time in one year; part time routes are available and should be planned with the Programme Manager.