Evaluation of the professional preparation and certificate of athletics coaches in Kenya
The present study evaluated the professional preparation and certification of athletics coaches in Kenya. The variables of the study included scrutiny of the coaches' gender, age, marital status, level of education, other employment; areas of coaching, nature and level of training, course content, duration of courses, competency of coaches' instructors, assessment of trainee coaches, frequency of refresher courses and availability of coaching literature. Other variables included the adequacy of athletics coaches' education, their level of effectiveness, professional training needs and problems. Data were gathered from 229 respondents who included provincial and national executive officials of Athletics Kenya, government sports officers and coaches. Questionnaires were used to gather data. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, while hypotheses were tested using Chi-square test and Spearman rank order correlation coefficient. The results indicated that majority of the coaches were males, and were married. The largest proportion of the coaches possessed ordinary level of education, and had other regular permanent occupations besides their coaching roles. 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. A larger fraction of the coaches indicated that the duration of the courses was adequate. Most coaches acknowledged that theory and practical examinations were administered during their coaching courses. 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. There were significantly positive correlations, rs = 0.72 (p<0.05) and rs = 0.57 (p=<0.05) between the coaches' and managers' views with regard to the training needs and problems of athletics coaches, respectively. Their main need and problem is regular in-service courses and inadequate finances, 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 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 centres 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. AK and the government should find alternate ways of raising funds to cater for the training of coaches.