The Our Finnish Sport development process is accelerating change in the coaching culture


The quality of coaching is the most important single factor affecting athlete development or motivation to practise. Coaching expertise is a decisive factor in competitive and elite sport, children's sport as well as in demonstrating accountability for sport and physical activity on a societal level. The quality of coaching largely determines the quality of sport.

This is the standpoint of the Finnish Coaches Association and the Professional Coaches of Finland (SAVAL). We will be able to develop the quality of coaching and the coaching culture through the Our Finnish Sport development process, which has already received the support of several stakeholders of the sporting landscape.

Athlete-centered coaching is a reciprocal interaction between a coach and an athlete. In activities which are initiated by the athlete, the motivation and energy to do things come from within the athlete and are fueled by their mental resources. The best Finnish coaches are already continuously implementing the athlete-centered approach, but its broader implementation is still in progress. 

Over the next three years, we hope that we will reach effectively all stakeholder in Finnish sport and that we will be able to develop the quality of coaching and the coaching culture together - to increase competence and a common understanding of sport coaching. We want to involve the actors of Finnish sports in the work – especially the athletes, coaches and coach developers.

The three main points of the Our Finnish Sport development process are:

1) How can we promote athlete-centered coaching in formal education systems?

2) In what ways can we promote a coach’s “on-the-job learning” on a daily basis?

3) How can we accelerate the development of an athlete-centered coaching culture in Finland through interaction and communication?

More detailed information about the Our Finnish Sport development process as well as several articles on athlete-centered coaching are published in the Coach Magazine which is published on the 17th of February 2022.

Henna Tanhuanpää started working for the Finnish Coaches Association as a full-time employee at the beginning of February, she is responsible for moving the Our Finnish Sport development process forward.

Text: Erkka Westerlund, Jorma Kemppainen, Raino Nieminen, Sari Tuunainen and Henna Tanhuanpää