1st Edition

Learning from Serial Winning Coaches Caring Determination

By Cliff Mallett, Sergio Lara-Bercial Copyright 2024
    214 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Learning from Serial Winning Coaches provides performance coaches and directors, coach developers, and researchers with the knowledge and tools to affirm and challenge policy and practice and conduct further research to inform future policy and practice in the identification, recruitment, and development of performance coaches.

    Leading an athlete or team to an Olympic or world championship gold medal or professional league title is a great achievement for a coach; a dream that comes true for a small group of privileged coaches. This outstanding accomplishment can become the defining moment of their careers. Winning multiple golds and championships with different athletes or teams, and across multiple major events spanning decades, is the prerogative of an exclusive club of coaches.

    This book reveals the secrets, experiences, and practices of 17 of these coaches across 10 sports and 10 different countries. Through a combination of in-depth interviews with the coaches and their athletes and a detailed analysis of their personality and motivational profiles, Mallett and Lara-Bercial offer a unique portrait of the day-to-day workings of these coaches: who they are, how they operate, their leadership style, and their inimitable and often serendipitous journeys to the top of the sporting world.

    Learning from Serial Winning Coaches goes beyond the description of isolated coaching behaviours provided by previous research to explore the personal realities of these exceptional men and women, coaches, and athletes. The emerging multi-dimensional picture sheds light on the unique conditions and practices that lead to the unparalleled success of these true outliers.

    This book is key reading for researchers, coaching and coaching psychology students, performance coaches and directors, and coach developers, providing a novel evidence-based theoretical framework to conduct further research, shape and reshape coach development, and facilitate the identification and recruitment of the next generation of serial winners.

    Section A: Introduction

    1. Serial Winning Coaches (SWC): Why, Who, What, and How

    2. Coming to Know the Person Behind the Coach: Personalities of Serial Winning Coaches

    Section B: Pathways

    3. The Learning Journeys of Serial Winning Coaches

    4. The Career Pathways of Serial Winning Coaches

    Section C: Caring Determination

    5. Caring Determination – Serial Winning Coaches as Leaders

    6. Expressions of Caring

    7. Expressions of Determination

    8. Drivers, Enablers, and Benefits of Caring Determination

    Section D: Striving, Surviving, and Thriving in Elite Sport

    9. Striving and Becoming a SWC

    10. Surviving in the Highly Performative Environment of Elite Sport

    11. From Surviving to Thriving: Holistic Development

    12. Learning from SWC to Inform HP Coach Development


    Cliff Mallett is a Professor of Sport Psychology and Coaching at the University of Queensland (Australia) and has enjoyed distinguished careers in high-performance sport and academia. He is an Olympic and world championship podium coach in athletics and also an internationally renowned researcher and coach developer who has been honoured with prestigious professorial fellowships at the Technical University of Munich and the National Institute of Education at NTU in Singapore. Cliff consults to many national and international sport (World Athletics) and corporate organisations and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and presented 29 invited international keynote addresses in more than 12 countries.

    Sergio Lara-Bercial is a Professor of Sport Coaching at Leeds Beckett University in the UK and Vice President for Strategy and Development at the International Council for Coaching Excellence. He has published widely on many sport-related topics including youth sport and coach development. Sergio consults to many high-level organisations, including Nike, IOC, UEFA, and FIBA. He is a former international basketball coach for Great Britain and has coached in the National League for over 25 years and won 19 national titles with both male and female teams.

    Cliff Mallett and Sergio Lara-Bercial have chronicled a terrific overview of sport and sports coaching in their latest instalment, Caring determination: Learning from serial winning coaches. Long term success is what every sporting coach is seeking and this latest instalment by Cliff and Sergio provide strategies used by long term successful coaches. In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see"

    Michael Bohl OAM (A serial winning coach to multiple medallists in 5 OG from 1992, 2008 – 2020 and coach to 8 Olympic & 1 Paralympic medallists, who won 14 individual medals, including 5 gold)

    "While the athlete or team make excellence happen, the coach makes excellence possible. But how do you create possibility repeatedly and consistently? The why? What? And How? Of that are brilliantly set out in these pages."

    Frank Dick OBE (Multiple Olympic medal winning coach in Athletics, Head Coach UK Athletics in their "golden era" and global leader in coach development)


    "With this magnificent research, Cliff Mallett and Sergio Lara-Bercial provide answers to one of the biggest questions in sport: What do Serial Winning Coaches do? What has allowed them to be successful repeatedly and stay at the top for so long? An outstanding piece of work." 

    Marti Perarnau (Former Olympian and Author of best-selling Books Pep Guardiola: The Evolution and Pep Confidential)


    "The powerful insights provided by serial winning coaches and the authors of this book provide rich material for both practicing coaches and those responsible for the identification and development of coaches in elite sporting settings"
    Barry Dancer (Australian Men’s Olympic Hockey gold [Athens, 2004] and Bronze medal [Beijing, 2008] winning coach)

    "This research outlines the ingredients required to be a successful coach based on outstanding individual coaches’ journeys and pathways across different sports. It creates an excellent reference point for football coaches who aspire to greatness. A road map to self-evaluate and continue to grow as a coach. Unmissable."

    Frank Ludolph (UEFA Head of Technical Development)

    "The authors reveal the key attributes of superstar sports coaches. This unique study explains how great coaches develop into world leading coaches. It should be on the bookshelf of every ambitious coach."

    Malcolm Brown (former National Coach at British Athletics and British Triathlon. Coach to Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champions)

    "Successful coaches are open-minded and relentless learners who take the time to grow in different areas of leadership. This research provides you with a very practical framework to reflect on your leadership approach and be more specific in your own personal and professional development."

    Barry Pauwels (Senior Director Technical Development US Soccer)

    "This book offers a unique perspective on the journey of successful coaches, exploring their developmental milestones and leadership practices. Discover how the balance of care and determination can lead to both high-performance coaching and athlete well-being. A must-read for any aspiring coach."

    Pyry Lukkarila (Head of Coach Development Finnish Ice Hockey Association)

    "This book is a great tool to inspire coaches to become the best version of themselves and to be successful. It’s a great example of how research can support sports, coaching, and coach education. It provides practical tools to critically think about yourselves and to be led on your personal journey as a coach by these serial winning coaches."

    Kris van der Haegen (Head of Coach Education, Royal Belgian Football Association, and Assistant Manager Belgium Women’s Football team.