Enhancing coaching quality, talent hunt in Nigeria’s sports

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Enhancing coaching quality, talent hunt in Nigeria’s sportsBy Aderonke Ojo

Coaching is a process that aims to improve performance. Some sports psychologists argue that irrespective of what the coach imparts on the athlete, the biggest obstacle to success is internal (the individual athlete) rather than external.

They say that as a coach, there would be time would be led by the person being coached. However, there may also be times when you are the expert, and imparting information and knowledge.

Coaching also includes making decisions about when a particular activity is safe for the athlete and why.

Though coaching may mean different things to different people, generally it is all about helping individuals to solve their own problems and improve their own performances.

There is no sport this has manifested more than football, a national sport and unifying factor for the nation.

Over the years, many coaches at different cadres of national football team have been fired due to the perception that they have failed in their coaching roles.

While some are sacked weeks before major tournaments, others are relieved of their jobs at the end of such tournaments such as African Nations Cup (Afcon).

This calls for the grooming of coaches of international standards who will create a national identity and philosophy in any sport as obtainable in football power house nations such as Brasil, Argentina, Spain, Italy and Germany.

No wonder the Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Enoh-owan described coaching as a critical aspect of sports development that should have more attention if the country is to return to its sporting best.

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“There must be a conscious plan for the progress and development of our coaches because the quality of our teams in different sports is largely going to be a function of the quality of coaching.

“The sports sector is a very dynamic one with the teams increasingly and ever changing, so you need to be up to date with our coaching.

“ Pledging readiness to work with relevant stakeholders to beam focus on the coaching sector with a view to raising the standard in line with international best practices.

“Attention will be given to the coaching aspect of our sports developments. Now we pay more attention to the athletes themselves than to those who produce these athletes, those who bring out the best of this athlete.

“So it is important we re-direct our focus,” he said.

To do that requires enormous fund and the minister is banking on partnership between both the public and private sectors.

One of the approaches, he said, is the National Institute for Sports (NIS), exploring ways to partner with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the areas of training and research.

One area coaching is very crucial is at the talent hunt level and this should occur at the grassroots.

Conscious of this, the minister said efforts would be geared towards improving the skills of grassroots coaches and revamp sports facilities at the grassroots.

He also assured that sports events at the grassroots would be well funded through collaborative model between public and private sectors.

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Sports Coaches Association of Nigeria, President Gabriel Opuana, canvassed proper training of coaches to serve as the catalyst for Nigeria’s resurgence in sports.

“It is difficult to think of the future of sports in Nigeria without the active participation of qualified coaches.

“This will be done in such a way that their dignity and integrity is acknowledged and guaranteed through access to quality education, jobs, sports amenities and facilities “, he said.

He called on the minister to immediately set up a proactive committee to raise funds through the private sector for the development of sports since government alone cannot do it.

Afolabi Olanrewaju, a sports affairs analyst, said that proper training of coaches would enhance their capacity to identify and nurture talents.

“There should deliberate plans to bring in sports veterans sports into coaching. This will not only give them a sense of belonging but also give them a sense of belonging.

“Our desire to go back to the grassroots to scout for talents can be achieved by regularly organising various coaching and sporting activities at that level“, he said.

Olanrewaju also said that coaches development should be seen as a process with the ultimate end of building their ability engineer high performance as well as to coach at all levels.

“It is extremely important for the coaches and managers to keep data of every athletes and update same on regular interval. This is the heart of any sports development program “, said the coaches association head.

Similarly, Adaeze Adam said that one empowered the coach has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of young athletes.

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“I urge our athletes who have passed age of playing to key into coaching instead of looking for offers where there is none.

“I have been saying it time without number that athletes should always try to make sure they hit the peak of their careers before the age of 30 years.

“Subsequently if they unfortunately pick up injuries that will force them into early retirement they can become coaches“, Adam said.

Just like in many aspects of human endeavour nowadays, technology has played a crucial role in revolutionalising coaching and Praise Ayodele, a sports enthusiast says Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this transformation.

He said coaches could get some decision right through data analysis as captured using various technologies, including video clips and chips.

Temitope Solomon, another sports enthusiast agrees, particularly in the area of training methodology.

“Sports managers and club administrators, and school sports organisers need to ensure that their coaches have the correct and up to date training methodology.

“They must equip them with the skill to in adapt to new technologies and sports software tools.

“There should be consolidation of existing knowledge, a structured curriculum, innovative drills, reporting structure and assessments tools, and technological innovation that can create impact on coaches “, said Solomon.

According to him, to enhance the skills of coaches in the country, all stakeholders who share the same vision and goals should be involved.

 

News Agency of Nigeria.