The sport coaching profession in Singapore is set to receive a major boost with the launch of CoachSG, an academy for coaches of all levels by Sport Singapore.
Headed by Troy Engle, Singapore Sports Institute's director of coach development, CoachSG will be launched in the second quarter of next year. It will focus on development in three main areas: skills, character and leadership, and industry.
Apart from enhancing coaches' technical skills, the academy also hopes to encourage more of them to stay in the profession by promoting it as a sustainable career option.
Said Engle: "Coaches play a vital role at all levels of the sport ecosystem. They are one of the most important influencers for the next generation who are starting out in sport."
He highlighted three sectors that the sport coaching market can be divided into - performance coaching for competitive sports, community-based participation coaching and youth coaching.
The American emphasised that CoachSG was started to meet the needs of both grassroots-level and elite-level coaches, and that both levels were different from each other. "We (used to) train every single coach as if they're all going to train the next Joseph Schooling of their sport. It's all geared towards performance sport," he said.
Coaches in registry get more support
With the introduction of CoachSG, members in the National Registry of Coaches (NROC) will be given priority enrolment and preferential rates to various coaching courses and activities organised by CoachSG, the respective national sports associations and other organisations.
The NROC is a database of coaches who have been fully certified under the Singapore Coach Excellence Programme (SG-Coach) in their respective sports.
From Jan 3, it will introduce a provisional membership category for sports coaches to participate in activities to improve their craft as they work towards completing all requirements of full membership.
The NROC has also reviewed the sequence of courses within the SG-Coach Framework. While coaches could previously only enrol in required certification courses in a prescribed order, they can now do so based on course availability and their interests.
There are currently over 2,000 coaches listed in 37 sports in the NROC.
For more information, visit sportsingapore.gov.sg
"(But) Joseph Schooling trains radically differently from my child, whom I'm just learning to teach how to swim and develop a passion for the sport.
"So the kind of training progressions that are taught in this pathway of coach development need to be different. That's our charge and that's what we need to do."
Acknowledging that sectors such as high-performance coaching are more profitable than others, Engle believes there are other areas - for instance, disability sports coaching - that could be further developed.
He said: "We also know that there are certain market sectors of sport coaching that could be very profitable for coaches, but these are speciality streams that we have not yet supported development in.
"That's one of the things that we need - we've got our market research, now we need to talk to the coaches on how we can support them."
Local coaches welcomed the launch of CoachSG, with football coach Lim Wei Quan expressing his approval of the programme's informal sharing sessions with other coaches.
"These exchanges will really help as we get to bounce ideas off one another and sharpen our knowledge," said the 32-year-old, who has coached at club and schools level.
"This shows that someone is thinking about us as coaches; they know the constraints we face and what we lack.
"It sends a good message to people who are interested in coaching to step up."
Ahead of its official launch next year, CoachSG will conduct monthly engagement sessions with coaches and other stakeholders from Dec 19 to next April.
Coaches interested in attending the sessions can sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org