iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce.

iCoachKids Maps the Coaching Children Workforce in 7 European Countries

Research conducted as part of Erasmus+ co-funded iCoachKids project offers a bleak picture of the education and working conditions of coaches of children across the European Union. The report reveals that a general lack of recognition of the children’s coach, regulation, education and development opportunities and reliable demographic data are making progress slow and difficult.


It is estimated that up to 9 million coaches deliver sport activities to 100 million citizens of the EU every single day. It is estimated that around 80 per cent of these coaches work with children but less than half of these coaches are qualified. Those who are typically hold lower level generic qualifications that do not prepare them specifically to work with this age-group.

The development of a suitably educated coaching workforce and the need to review and develop the ways that sport coaches are trained has been recognised as a priority area at the highest levels of European policy (White Paper on Sport, 2007; Communication on Enhancing the European Dimension of Sport, 2011; Work Plans for Sport, 2011-2014; 2014-2017).

This report led by Leeds Beckett University researchers Dr A.J. Rankin-Wright, Dr Julian North and Sergio Lara-Bercial, provides an overview of the characteristics of children’s coaches, and their education and learning conditions in the seven European countries represented in this Erasmus project partnership - Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, the purpose of this exercise was to establish an understanding of the current approaches to sport coaching in each country, the demographic, and training characteristics of children’s coaches, and the development and education opportunities available to them.

The report reveals four key areas of concern that data are making progress slow and difficult:

  • A general lack of recognition of the children’s coach
  • A dearth of regulation including legislation, certification and licensing
  • The existence of a very reduced number of education and development opportunities for this specific population of coaches
  • And a consistent absence of reliable information in relation to the demographic, education and employment characteristics of children’s coaches

You can read the full report here