Caroline Roberts |

‘I was interested in whether there might be an alternative to the traditional, coach-centric, instructive approach’

What is the essence of coaching? Jesus College Head Coach Jonathan Conder, a newly qualified L4 coach, shares his thoughts

Jonathan Conder is one of only around 20 rowing coaches in the country to have achieved a Level 4 coaching qualification. “I strongly believe in the principles of coaching personal development (CPD) and trying to expand your knowledge,” says the Head Coach at Jesus College, Cambridge.

“There were aspects of coaching rowing that I wanted to explore in detail, but while holding down a full-time job and raising a family, I’d never been able to get to grips with it. I felt the Level 4 qualification would give me the opportunity to do that.”

Around three-quarters of the qualification consists of a postgraduate diploma in Professional Practice in Sports Coaching delivered over two years by the University of Gloucestershire. To achieve the L4, this is combined with a wrap-around element delivered by British Rowing, which includes a 360-degree review involving feedback from athletes and other coaches, as well as a coaching log and assessments.  


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