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  • Norman Brook

Building Sporting & Life Competences

Traditional sports programmes focus on developing individual players and teams to take part and pursue success in sports competition. Sport for development programmes use sport as a means of reaching out to young people in order to address a social challenge and contribute towards the achievement of a development goal. In both contexts the coach helps individual players to develop their sporting competences and their personal and social competences.

Competences developed through participation in sport

Even in sport only programmes, there is a need to develop the individual as both a person and a player. The development of social and personal competences underpinning the development of the physical, mental, technical and tactical competences associated with sports participation.

In sport for development programmes that focus on the Sustainable Development Goals the development of social and personal competences will come first, but in order to attract and retain young people in these programmes they need also to be able to develop their sporting competences.

Competences are comprised of knowledge, attitude and life skills.


Knowledge goes beyond just having information, it is a level of understanding that enables factual information to be related to other information and knowledge, to be synthesized into broader concepts, and to be usefully applied.


Attitude encompasses the broad domain of social norms, ethics, morals, values, rights, culture, tradition, spirituality and religion, and feelings about self and others.

Life Skills

Life skills enable adaptive and positive behaviour that allows us to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Life skills include cognitive skills for analysing and using information; personal skills for developing personal agency and managing oneself; and inter-personal skills for communicating and interacting effectively with others.

A player’s personal and social competence is comprised of the knowledge, attitude and life skills they possess and are able to use both on and off the sports field.

The coach who works in a traditional sport context should want to develop the player as a person and as a player. They should want to help their players develop into positive young people ready to live productive and healthy lives. To achieve a balance between the sports field and other aspects of their life. Young people who can make a positive contribution to their family, friends, community and who are prepared to become active citizens.

The coach who works in the sport for development context will be focused on developing players as positive, productive and healthy individuals contributing towards the programmes development goals.  Sport for development programmes are designed to address a range of challenges facing excluded and disadvantaged communities. In addition to developing the personal and social competences of their players, the sport for development coach also needs to deliver quality sports sessions that help attract young people to the programme and retain them.  Sport for development programmes need quality sports programming that allows the players to develop their PMTT competences as a foundation for their primary goal of making a social impact.

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