The Management Of Elite Coaching Education In Switzerland

Pillet, Florence; Mrkonjic, Michael (September 2020). The Management Of Elite Coaching Education In Switzerland In: European Association for Sport Management (EASM). European Association for Sport Management Virtual Conference. 17. September – 25. September 2020.

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Aim and Research Question: This contribution aims to analyse the different levels and characteristics of the education pathway to become an elite coach in Switzerland in the light of the recent adjustments of curricula and increased financial support by the federal government for professional education. The objective is to optimise the management of elite coaching education with regards of the main challenges that coaches are facing and the characteristics and expectations of the sports market in Switzerland and its organisations. Theoretical Background and Literature Review: The sports market in Switzerland represents 1.7% of the Swiss GDP, generates a turnover of CHF 22.2 billion and the total of jobs is 97'900 full-time equivalent, divided into nine sectors where coaches are included in that of service providers (Hoff et al., 2017). Coaches are also integrated in the General Classification of Economic Activities (Federal Statistical Office, 2008) and the current number of certified elite coaches is estimated at 1'400. In Switzerland, certification of coaches is a task performed by the Federal office of sport (FOSPO) in collaboration with the umbrella federation of sports, Swiss Olympic. The main challenges linked to a coaching career are a better recognition of the job in society, higher revenues, development of competencies, an effective transmission of knowledge to athletes and education pathways (Kempf & Lichtsteiner, 2015). From there, the structure and content of the curriculum has recently been adapted. However, in recent years, talent identification and development system has gone through a comprehensive resetting (Swiss Olympic, 2018). The pressure to build decisions on data driven analysis is growing in parallel with the number of similar professions such as personal or fitness coach which are booming (Wegener, Loebbert & Fritze, 2014). Moreover, national governing bodies of sport (NGBs), which are the main employer of elite coaches, do not consider coaching development as a priority in their statutes. These systemic factors can impact on the appropriate competencies, development of curricula and ultimately on attractiveness of the profession (Apitzch, 2012 ; Wohlfart & Adam, 2019). This calls for a reflection on a sustainable education pathway for elite coaches. Methodology: The research builds on mixed methods, with a stronger emphasis on qualitative methodology. First, it performs a documentary analysis of a comprehensive set of policy documents gathered in 2019 (e.g. curricula, by-laws, policies). It also includes statistical data on the labour market in Switzerland. Second, it conducts a series of expert interviews (n=8) as well as two workshops with experts in the field of coaching education and development. Findings: The analysis reveals that elite coaching education pathway combines multiple layers starting with sport-oriented education at the participation level under the responsibility of the FOSPO in collaboration with the NGBs and including different specialisations levels. This continues with a Federal Diploma of Higher Education and an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, and is accessible with a university degree and coaching experience. Since 2018, the federal government subsidises 50% of the registration fees to the exams of Federal Diplomas, reducing the entry costs to the education pathway. Discussion: The new Swiss sports and athlete development pathway (FTEM Model) implemented in 2016, brought another reflection on the curricula development in order to better meet expectations and interests of athletes and NGBs. This has shifted the focus away from the optimal integration on the sports market in favour of the development of elite sport per se. Nevertheless, the elite coach market in Switzerland is very competitive, with only a few position openings, pushing clubs and NGBs to hire foreign elite coaches as they can pay them at a lower price. Therefore, the successful achievement of elite coaching education does not guarantee a position in elite sport and it can lead coaches to drop out of the system. Conclusion, Contribution and Implication: We contribute to a better understanding regarding the levels and characteristics of the education pathway of elite coaching careers in Switzerland and offer optimisation potential. Indeed, the development of education and increased support from the FOSPO and Swiss Olympic strengthen the professional sector. It is then necessary to better understand the labour market, the consequences such as frequent involvement of foreign coaches and expectations of coaches in its entirety. In this respect, a more efficient approach to management of data on coaches is needed, requiring the centralisation of information with a better updating of information on their professional status. There is also a need to better understand the roles and competencies of current and future coaches, integrating the FTEM Model could allow specifications...

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Sportökonomie > Sportökonomie


Pillet, Florence and
Mrkonjic, Michael




Service Account

Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2022 15:00

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2022 15:00

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Sport Management Elite Coaching Education Switzerland Sport




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