Coaching a sport which is new to the participants often provides issues with regards to differentiation. Progressions and regressions arrive at different times and it is always important to include every participant equally. ‘differentiation is necessary to enable all students to maximize their gains.’ (Latz., et al, 2009)

Whilst coaching it is important to remember that every member of the group learns and develops at different speeds. Therefore it is also important to remember that differentiation must not only be used for the slower progressing, less talented participants, but also the quicker progressing, higher talented participants. As a coach realising when some members of the group can progress is vital, not just for the participant but for the flow of the session. Failure to change the task slightly for those participants who are completing the task at hand with ease could lead to boredom or misbehaviour. The same effect exists if the coach progresses the session to quickly for some members of the group. Finding ways and methods of coaching where the session can be progressed of regressed at different times is a vitality, and there are a variety of ways to do this.

  • Create games where participants are in control of progressing the exercise
  • Set tasks which have to be completed before progression, have regressions available in case tasks are not completed

‘Differentiation means different work, not more work’ (Cooper, 1998)

Also beneficial to the coach is to use the Differentiation Model when creating a session. The differentiation model allows the coach to ensure the session is set out and planned correctly with regards to differentiation.


Morley & Bailey (2006: pp. 68-78)

With regards to the model above, each point covers a range of important factors which need covering whilst coaching. For example, under the CONTEXT part of the model comes Pace/Acceleration which helps the coach remember the importance of taking the pace of the session into account because of the rate in which participants progress differently. Continuing to look at the model under the PRESENTATION part of the model comes Response. This is different ways the participants respond to the coach, and developing knowledge on all of these varieties is extremely beneficial to the coach. There are 3 different ways in which participants learn: Visually, Audotiorally and Kinaesthetically.


Bailey, R., Morley, D. & Dismore, H. (2009) Talent development in physical education: a national survey of policy and practice in England, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14(1), 59-72

Latz, A, Speirs Neumeister, K, Adams, C, & Pierce, R 2009, ‘Peer Coaching to Improve Classroom Differentiation: Perspectives from Project CLUE’, Roeper Review, 31, 1, pp. 27-39, ERIC, EBSCOhost

Morley, D. & Bailey, R. (2006) Meeting the needs of your most able pupils: PE and sport. London: David Fulton Publishers.

3 Responses to “Differentiation in Coaching”

  1. Profile photo of Callum Hunter WoodCallum Hunter Wood said:

    Hi Ben,

    I used the same model within my placement for differentiation. I found it very helpful, I like how you have catergorised different themes into each of the three concepts!

    Did you make the pupils aware of why you were coaching them in a certain way or was this for the purposes of your session plan? I’d be interested to know!


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