UK Coaching – Written evidence (NPS0054)


As the lead agency for coaching in the UK, we collaborate with participants, coaches and those who employ, deploy and support coaches across the sport and physical activity sector to collectively improve coaching experiences, across the pathway.


Using our research, which demonstrates the positive association between coaching and good mental and physical well-being, we inform Government policy to support coaches to continue having a positive impact on society – potentially reducing pressures on our health and social care systems.


Our fundamental belief remains that Great Coaching changes lives because it’s about people supporting people to be better tomorrow than they are today.


UK Coaching has conducted a number of research projects to understand the impact of coaching on participants. These studies have shown that people who receive coaching in sport and physical activity are more likely to be more active more often than those who do not receive coaching. Furthermore, those who receive coaching are more likely to have more resilient habits and maintain their involvement in sport and physical activity over longer periods, than those who do not receive coaching.[1]


To this end we have supporting evidence that applies some of the questions posed by the select committee and will endeavour to answer each one in turn.




Question two: How can children and young people be encouraged to participate in sport and recreation both at school and outside school, and lead an active lifestyle?


The word crisis has been used more and more recently to describe the reduction in activity levels of children, especially since the start of the national lockdown in March 2020.  Many groups have conducted research into this area to help support the development of the Government’s School Sport and Physical Activity Action Plan, supporting this move is the most recent Active Lives for Children and Young People reports published by Sport England. The findings show 3.2 million children were active during the 2019-20 academic year, a 1.9% decrease on the previous year’s results. However, still 31.3% (2.3million) children are doing less than 30 minutes of activity per day rendering them inactive based on the Chief Medical Officer Guidelines for Children.


UK Coaching is collaborating with 14 organisations to look to improve provision of sport and physical activity for children and young people.  Through the power of coaching we aim to influence the sector to raise the bar of children’s coaching.  The Children’s Coaching Collaborative has based all decisions and recommendations of Article 3, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Right to Play, The Right to Develop, and The Right to be Heard.

“Children who are coached are – Happier; are more likely to feel the things they do in life are worthwhile; and are more satisfied with their life.”


Infographic showing statistics on the activity levels and coaching of children and young people.


Infographic showing the impact of physical activity on well being and why children and young people can be less active.

Question three: How can adults of all ages and backgrounds, particularly those from under-represented groups, including women and girls, ethnic minorities, disabled people, older people, and those from less affluent backgrounds, be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles?


UK Coaching has led for several years a Diversity Expert Group looking at the makeup of participation levels and that of the coaching workforce in the UK, who support the participants to be more active.  We have a lot of quantitative data on the makeup of the coaching workforce from Coaching in the UK 2019.  What it does tell us is there are still barriers affecting different groups from entering a more active lifestyle.  Our research suggests that for some groups in society they would prefer to be coached by “someone like them,” or “someone who understands me.”  If the percentage levels of coaches in the UK is not representative of the participants they serve this can and does provide barriers for people to get involved in sport and physical activity.


The following infographics highlight some of our headline findings.


Infographic focusing on decreasing inactivity.


“Regular exercise has a positive impact on health…There are a number of ways that coaches can encourage adults to be more active.”

Infographic focusing on why and how physical inactivity should be tackled.