Evaluation of the professional preparation and certification of athletics coaches in Kenya
This study evaluated the professional preparation and certification of athletics coaches in Kenya. Data were gathered from 229 respondents who included provincial and national executive officials of Athletics Kenya, government sports officers and coaches. Questionnaire was used to gather data. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, while hypotheses were tested using Chi-square test. The results indicated that the coaches for middle and distance runners outnumbered those for sprints and field events. The International Association of Athletics Federations trained most of the athletics coaches. The main content area of the coaches' courses was Theory and Practice of Athletic Techniques and Tactics, but sport psychology received least attention. Although many coaches viewed their course instructors as competent, the analysis of their views on the basis of their academic qualifications yielded a X2 of 76.94 (p< 0.05). The coaches indicated that their access to coaching literature was infrequent as their ratings on this variable on the basis of their academic qualifications produced a X2 of 8.10 (p> 0.05). In spite of the finding that many of the coaches, government sports officers and Athletics Kenya (AK) officials indicated that coaching and in-service courses were infrequent, their views yielded a X2 of 18.34 (p<0.05). Majority of the three groups of respondents indicated the need to train more coaches in sprints, middle and long distance races, and field events, with their views producing X2 values of 3.21 (p>0.05), 5.45 (p>0.05) and 2.32 (p>0.05) respectively. On the overall, the three groups of respondents indicated that the training of the coaches was inadequate, as their views yielded a X2 of 9.37 (p>0.05. The inadequacy of training was attributed to insufficient course content, limited access to in-service courses and coaching literature. It was therefore, recommended that Athletic Kenya (AK) and the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services should establish a centralized institution to standardize and conduct frequent athletics coaching and in-service courses to meet coaching personnel needs in the country. AK and the government should set up learning resource centers across the country , where coaches can access recent coaching literature. An athletics coaches' licensing board should be formed to ensure high standards in coaching and offer licenses to qualified coaches only.