Free course

Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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Exploring sport coaching and psychology

Have you experience of sport or fitness coaching either as a participant or a coach? Are you inquisitive about how sport works behind the scenes? 

In this free course, Exploring sport coaching and psychology, you will explore the influence of coaching and psychology through the lens of sports people and teams who have been successful. You will focus on coaching practices used with young people and adults, including research and advice of leaders in their fields.

The course is introduced by GB hockey player Alex Danson. Alex features throughout the course and you will learn about how coaching and psychology have contributed to her success in sport.


The course investigates how scientific and management ideas contribute to success, while also taking you on a journey through unique sporting case studies and insights that will change how you view and study sport. You will consider how the mind, the body, the environment and training techniques all contribute to optimum fitness.

By understanding coaching and psychology's influence on sporting careers, you will begin to identify useful aspects that might contribute to your own development, whether that be in sport, study or life in general. Working through this course will help you to gain the inside knowledge to impress in any applications or at interviews. The course will also prepare you for further study. 

The course is supported and strongly recommended by UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK). Whether you're just starting out or have been coaching for many years you will learn new skills and demonstrate that you have been proactive in your professional development. 

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation - which also displays your Open University badge.

Other organisations using this course

The International Olympic Committee: the Athlete Learning Gateway 352 recommend this course as part of onward study for their users.

The Professional Golfers Association 353 (PGA): PGA Professionals will be credited with 50 CPD points by The PGA for successful completion of this course.

 British Canoeing  recognise the badge awarded for completion of this course as coaches’ continual professional development valid for 18 months from the issue date of the badge

This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office 340355.  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD.  

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

Exploring sport coaching and psychology

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • outline the influences of, and links between, sport coaching and psychology for those developing their abilities in sport
  • describe different aspects of effective coaching and the way in which a coach may influence young people and adults
  • compare the psychological characteristics used in sporting careers to those you might need to shape your own future
  • reflect on your own sport or fitness behaviours, beliefs and practices and identify useful next steps for further development
  • understand and be confident in your ability to study online.

First Published: 06/02/2017

Updated: 13/08/2019

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

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