Posted by: Norman Brook | July 12, 2018

Time to Re-Think Safeguarding in Sport

Where sports organisations have acted on their duty of care to safeguard participants in their sport from non-accidental harm, there has to date been a focus on implementing safeguarding policies and procedures that seek to protect children and protected adults (adults at risk) in sport.

Children are defined as young persons under 18 years of age and are protected under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been adopted by 197 nations.

Protected Adult (Adult at Risk) is a person aged 18 or over who is, or may be, in need of services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is, or may be, unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm, abuse or exploitation.

As more cases of bullying, harassment and sexual abuse of adult participants in sport come forward, sports organisations are having to re-think their approach to safeguarding.

Best practice now is to think about how we safeguard everyone in our sports organisations at all times, and not just children, young people and adults participating in the sport, but also the staff and volunteers who deliver our programmes, whom may experience inappropriate behaviour such as bullying, harassment or sexual abuse.

Some sports organisations are responding to the need to safeguard adult participants by establishing separate safeguarding policies and procedures specifically for adults participating in sport. So they might have a policy that safeguards children, another that safeguards adults at risk, another that safeguards athletes and another that safeguards the sport’s workforce both salaried and volunteer.

So do sports organisations need multiple safeguarding policies and procedures especially when many of the safeguards they contain cover common issues such as reporting systems, case management and disciplinary procedures.

Rather than duplication, perhaps sports organisations and all participants would be better served by one comprehensive policy that covers the safeguarding needs of children and all adult participants.

Posted by: Norman Brook | June 5, 2018

Vital Connections – Lou Bergholz

I met Lou Bergholz at the Beyond Sport conference held in Cape Town in December 2011. Although we talked on that occasion the opportunity for collaboration sadly never came around. Lou is founder and managing partner of Edgework Consulting a Boston based firm that provides leadership development and capacity building to organisation’s around the world. An important part of the company’s work focusing on innovative approaches to youth development including sport for development activity.

When I met Lou in Cape Town, I was unaware his company Edgework Consulting had just completed a sport for development manual for UNICEF Namibia called Sport 2 Life. A manual that would key in the delivery of the Namibian Football Associations Galz & Goals programme. Four years later Donny Jurgens and I were asked by the GIZ Namibia to develop a Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights manual for youth in football and basketball.

As the Sport 2 Life manual developed by Edgework Consulting was embedded in the youth development through football approach in Namibia it was important that our Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights manual was built on some of the approaches it advocated. Connected conversations and inside-out coaching are key components of Sport 2 Life and it made sense that our manual should adopt a similar methodology in teaching health skills, especially as the football coaches were already skilled in this approach.

This idea of the Coach helping young people to make the connection from their experience on the field of play to their life outside of sport is key to achieving development outcomes through sports programmes. Research suggests that sport for development programmes are most successful when there is a positive adult-youth relationship and where there is an intentional connection between sports activities and the development goal.

I was therefore excited when I received an invitation from Lou to review his new book “Vital Connections“. The sub-title catching my eye “Harnessing the Power of Relationships to Impact the Lives of Young People“. This sparked my interest as a practitioner in the fields of sport and sport for development. Whether it is sport for performance, for recreation, or for the holistic development of the young person, the quality of the coach-athlete relationship is key to the the young person’s experience and outcomes.


So I approached Lou’s book from the perspective of a coach and coach developer even though the book is intended for a wider audience of people who work with youth and are involved in their development.

In Vital Connections Lou reflects on his experience of working with young people in a number of different settings across the world and sets out in the book the lessons he has learned. The result is the author’s six vital connections.

1. Make Time at the Right Time.

2. Know Their Story.

3. Believe They Can Succeed.

4. Make Vital Conversations.

5. Facilitate Connections with other Caring Adults.

6. Intervene When They Need You Most.

The book is organised in three parts each covering two of the Vital Connections. The order is intentional with subsequent chapters building on each other. The sequencing of the Vital Connections aimed at building the readers skill and capacity to leverage their power as Caring Adults.

In covering the first Vital Connection – Make Time at the Right Time – Lou explores the importance of making time for all the young people in the activities we run and that the right time might be during the formal programme or informally outside of the programme. This got me thinking of the Namibian Sport 2 Life programme where the right time to discuss life skills issues with the young footballers was after the football practice. After they had undertaken physical activity, burned off energy and were more calm and ready to be reflective. It also reminded me that even when you are coaching a team or squad, you are coaching a group of individuals and we need to make time for each individual player.

Making Time for young people leads to you getting to Know Their Story. This is important in all youth work if you are to help that young person get the best out of themselves. It is also vital in a coaching sense, if you do not know your individual players then it will be unlikely that you can help them set realistic goals and support them to develop their full potential.

The chapter on Believe They Can Succeed is especially pertinent for coaches working in a sports context. It is packed full of great advice on how to encourage young people and resonates with good coaching practice.

One aspect of coaching practice that is often missing in youth sport is that important opportunity for group discussion where the young players can reflect on what they have learned and can contribute their thinking back to the programme. As coaches we talk about being athlete-centered but often forget to engage our young players in conversation and receive their valuable feedback. Lou talks about this in the fourth of the Vital Connections – Making Vital Conversations and there is real food for thought for sports coaches in this chapter.

Facilitating Connections with other Caring Adults made me think of my long time mentor Frank Dick’s “The Three Things You Must Know“.

  • Know what you know.
  • Know what you do not know.
  • Know someone who knows what you do not know.

In life we can not know everything, the important thing is knowing when we do not have the answers and helping the young people we work with to connect with the right people who can help and support them. Lou talks about reaching into the community and building a Support System for young people. That again resonates with the sports coaching experience. The young players at the centre of the programme that is lead by a competent coach surrounded by a network of support personnel that provide the services that are key to supporting the young players achieve their goals.

Just as Lou suggests that the role of the youth workers is to facilitate that network of caring adults to support the development of the young person, the sports coach needs to build a support network that will include professionals such as physiotherapists, doctors, nutritionists, strength and conditioning experts, but also volunteers who can act as chaperones, help with administration or raise funds.

Lou’s final Vital Connection – Intervene When They Need You Most – suggests that sometimes we should go the extra mile to help a young person in their development. In other words going beyond what would normally be expected of you in your role in working with young people. Lou suggests three situations where a caring adult might wish to intervene. The first is a launch scenario where you can guide a young person toward an experience or an opportunity that will most likely put them on a significantly better trajectory in some area of their life.

A young person from Cape Town’s notorious gang ridden Cape Flats was recently offered a place in a College in the USA where he could study and play collegiate soccer. A friend had agreed through his business to sponsor the young person’s studies in the USA but his dreams came crashing down when he was refused a study visa. This was a time when I decided to intervene using my connections with the British High Commission to make a connection with the US Consulate. This led to direct talks with the sponsor and a better understanding of the opportunity for the young person who is now getting a first class education and playing a good standard of sport. This would be Lou’s sixth Vital Connection in action in a launch scenario.

The other two situations where Lou suggests an intervention may be suitable is a preventive scenario where you are directing the young person away from an inherent danger or a rescue situation where they are already in a damaging situation and may need rescued.

This approach made me think very much about the safeguarding of young people in sport. The situation where a coach needs to exercise their moral or ethical duty of care to prevent or stop a young person being subjected to abuse, harassment or exploitation.

Lou Bergholz Vital Connections is not intended to be a sports coaching book, but is certainly a book that I would recommend to any sports coach. As Lou shares his experiences he tells some interesting stories that make the book enjoyable to read, but he also sets out some clear principles which coaches can follow to enhance their work with young players.

Vital Connections: Harnessing the Power of Relationship to Impact the Lives of Young People is available on Amazon.

Posted by: Norman Brook | April 18, 2018

Sport for Good is alive and well in Atlanta.

I was heading to the USA for two weeks, visiting Atlanta, and wondered what programmes there might be running over there that use sport to promote social change. The first step in my quest to learn more on this trip was to visit  LinkedIn and see what contacts I had, there I found Jason Longshore. At some point we had linked up with each other due to a common interest in football, or soccer, for development. Jason had been the Chief Development Officer with an NGO called “Soccer in the Streets”, but has since moved on to work in the media and to become the commentator for Atlanta United FC which began to play in 2017 as team in the Eastern Conference of the Major Soccer league (MLS).


I met up with Jason for a coffee and chat at a Starbucks in an area of Atlanta called Buckhead. He was passionate about soccer and the power that sport has to make a difference in the lives of young people. We had a stimulating conversation during which I learned a lot about the development of soccer in Atlanta and the background to Soccer in the Street. I discovered we had similar views on how sport can be used to promote social change. My big take away from our conversation was this idea of “intentional” design. Playing sport alone does not lead to positive youth development and young people ready to make positive healthy decisions in life.  If we want that to happen through sport, we need to intentionally target the development of values and life skills alongside developing the physical, cognitive, technical and tactical skills required to play soccer.

Prior to traveling to Atlanta, my second “reach out” was to Mike Geddes who is the Managing Director of streetfootballworld USA. I know Mike from his time in Cape Town around the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was aware that he had recently run an event in Atlanta for streetfootballworld. Mike made two great contacts for me, the first was Pharlone Toussaint from Laureus USA, and second Phil Hill from Soccer in the Streets. It just so happened that Pharlone was organising a Laureus Sport for Good Atlanta Alliance meeting whilst I was in Atlanta and she kindly extended an invitation to attend. Phil was also attending the meeting so we agreed to catch up there.


The Laureus Sport for Good Atlanta Alliance meeting proved a great opportunity to meet up with lots of superstars using sports programmes to develop young people living in communities that face social challenges. My big take away from this meeting came was from a resident of Westside, Atlanta, who told it straight and stressed the importance of consulting local communities before investing in programmes. He essentially was arguing for a bottom up, as opposed to a top down, approach to designing programmes for his community. His contribution to the conversation highlighted the importance of “consulting the community” in order to understand local challenges and needs before designing interventions. This is a global principle which is equally applicable whether in the USA or here in Africa.

In addition to local stakeholders, some members of the London based Laureus Global Team were also in Atlanta attending the Alliance meeting. It was great to bump into Vicky Lowe again, now Head of Development at Laureus Global, whom I had previously worked with when she was with Barclays Spaces for Sport programme.

There were many local sport for change organisations participating in the Alliance Meeting in addition to “Soccer in the Streets” but two that caught my attention were “Girls on the Run” and “The First Tee”.

Girls on the Run works to encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5k run. As I have a background in endurance running from my UK Athletics days and a sport for social change background from my work in Africa, I was naturally going to be attracted to a youth development programme featuring running. This programme is targeting girls and is the type of programme needed in South Africa. I had recently been corresponding with contacts in South African athletics regarding the lack of participation by black African women in running. At many local competitions the first ten or so men finishers are invariably black African men, but by contrast the first ten or so women are invariably white. This begs the question why black African women are not in running in equal numbers to their male counterparts. I would say, that one of the reasons is that South Africa remains a patriarchal society where girls are not encouraged to take up sport. A programme such as Girls on the Run could do much to build the self-confidence, self-esteem and self-efficacy of young women in black African communities and could encourage more black African girls to take up running as a sport.

The First Tee is a youth development organization that impacts the lives of young people by providing educational programmes that build character, instil life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. As I was born in St Andrews it was pretty hard for me to not sit up and take notice of a golf based programme. Also my consulting colleague, Donny Jurgens was until just recently a member of the Executive Committee of South African Golf. I am sure he will be interested to know more about The First Tee and their work in youth development work in the USA. This was another programme that I thought could easily have relevance in South Africa.

To Jason, Pharlone, Phil and all the other superstars promoting sport for social change in Atlanta, thank you for meeting with me and sharing your programmes and ideas. I hope to follow up and see what we can learn from your work that can be to applied around the world especially in an African context.


Recent cases of historical abuse of children is sport around the world should be of concern to South Africa’s sports administrators. Few South African sports federations and affiliated clubs have in place safeguarding policies for children and vulnerable adults participating in their sport nor do they have in place procedures and practices aimed at safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.  When this situation is weighed against the strong legislation that exists in South Africa aimed at protecting children and vulnerable adults, it is only a matter of time before a sports federation, its affiliated members, staff or office bearers will be called to account for neglecting to address the issue of safeguarding in sport.

Larry Nasser was an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University and doctor to the USA National Gymnastics Team.  He was tried in a major criminal case in the USA for sexually abusing 250 girls and young women, including a number of well-known Olympic gymnasts, dating as far back as 1992.

On January 24, 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors. On February 5, 2018, he was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to an additional three counts of sexual assault.

Following his conviction, more than 150 federal and state lawsuits have been filed against him, Michigan State University, the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and the Twistars Gymnastics Club. Litigation by victims following the judgements against Nasser is likely to be costly affair for the sports organisations involved.

Under pressure the CEO and entire 18-member board of USA Gymnastics tendered their resignations, as did the President and Director of Athletics of Michigan State University along with four other staff members, and the Head of the USA Olympic Committee.

In the Larry Nasser case heads have rolled and organisations face costly litigation as they are seen to have “turned the other way” or tried to hide the activities of a child abuser instead of immediately contacting law enforcement. This case is but one example of many where children or vulnerable adults have been abused in sport across the world and where costly settlements have been reached between the victims and the sports organisations that failed to protect them.

South Africa is a litigious country, has strong laws protecting children and vulnerable adults, has the highest level of violence against women and children in the world and South Africa sport is neglecting to put in place safeguarding policies, procedures and practices.  It is a disaster waiting to happen that is going to severely damage the reputations and financial position of of individuals and organisations.  It is time for sport in South African sport to waken up to this risk before it impacts on them.

So how does the law protect children and vulnerable adults in South Africa and what are the implications for sports organisations.  An understanding of the CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENCES AND RELATED MATTERS) AMENDMENT ACT 32 OF 2007 as amended by the Judicial Matters Amendment Act 66 of 2008; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Act 6 of 2012; Judicial Matters Amendment Act 42 of 2013; Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013;Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act 43 of 2013 will help.

This act makes a provision for a National Register for Sexual Offenders and places certain responsibilities on employers and employees.  It also defines who an employer and employee is.  The definition of an employer in the act includes any person, organisation, institution, club, sports club, association or body who or which, as the case may be- (i) employs employees who, in any manner and during the course of their employment, will be placed in a position of authority, supervision or care of a child or a person who is mentally disabled or working with or will gain access to a child or a person who is mentally disabled or places where children or persons who are mentally disabled are present or congregate; (ii) owns, manages, operates, has any business or economic interest in or is in any manner responsible for,or participates or assists in the management or operation of any entity or business concern or trade relating to the supervision over or care of a child or a person who is mentally disabled or working with or who gains access to a child or a person who is mentally disabled or places where children or persons who are mentally disabled are present or congregate.

The legislation makes it clear that sports federations and clubs are employers.

The act goes on to define employees as (a) any person who applies to work for or works for an employer, and who receives, or is entitled to receive, any remuneration, reward, favour or benefit; or (b) any person, other than a person contemplated in (a), who in any manner applies to assist or assists in carrying on or conducting the business of an employer, whether or not he or she is entitled to receive any remuneration, reward, favour or benefit.

The legislation also makes it clear that anyone working in a sports federation or club in a paid or unpaid role is considered to be an employee.

The act obligates employers in respect of employees to apply to the Registrar of the National Register for Sexual Offenders for a prescribed certificate, stating whether or not the particulars of the employee are recorded in the Register. This has to be done for for paid and unpaid employees so it includes volunteer coaches, team managers, and others within a sports organisation or club that may come into contact with children or vulnerable adults.  It has to be done for all future employees and retrospectively for existing employees.

The employer cannot employ anyone on the register if their is any likelihood they will come into contact with children or vulnerable adults as a consequence of their duties.  Failure to vet employees against the registrar and to not employ someone on the register is a criminal offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Employees are required by the act to inform their employers if they have been convicted of a sexual offence against a child or a person who is mentally disabled, or is alleged to have committed a sexual offence against a child or a person who is mentally disabled and who has been dealt with in terms of section 77 (6) or 78 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, irrespective of whether or not such offence was committed or allegedly committed during the course of his or her employment, must without delay disclose such conviction or finding to his or her employer.  They must also disclose any conviction or finding when applying for a role within the organisation. Failing to disclose is a criminal offence liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding seven years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

The act has implications for all sports federations and clubs requiring good recruitment practice and vetting of paid and unpaid persons working with children and vulnerable adults.

The CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENCES AND RELATED MATTERS) AMENDMENT ACT 32 OF 2007 also sets out our duty of care responsibilites in respect of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and statutory duty to report concerns.

The act states that a person who has knowledge that a sexual offence has been committed against a child must report such knowledge immediately to a police official. That a person who fails to report that a sexual offence has been committed against a child is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

A person who has knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion that a sexual offence has been committed against a person who is mentally disabled must report such knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion immediately to a police official.  Failing to report such knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion is an offence liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

The act also protects whistle-blowers in respect of good faith reports ensuring reasonable belief or suspicion shall not be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings by reason of making such report.

This means that those who serve in sports federations and clubs cannot “turn the other way” or conceal the activities of a child abuser instead of immediately contacting the police without risking prosecution.

The time has come for South African sports federations and sports clubs to take action to safeguard children and vulnerable adults in sport and to protect individuals in sport from prosecution for failing in their statutory duty of care to protect children and vulnerable adults.

It is worth finishing with a judgement from a child abuse case heard in South Africa last year. Although this case is not related to sport, it highlights the need for authorities such as sports federations and sports clubs to step up when it comes to protecting children and vulnerable adults.

“Judge Bert Bam slammed authorities in the Northern Cape town of Orania, where the family lived until shortly before Poppie’s death, for not taking action even though the abuse was reported to various authorities: 

“The matter was very serious, it involved toddlers yet, surprisingly, authorities including doctors, social workers, teachers, and even dominees (pastors) where bound by a duty to do so, but failed their duty, for unknown reasons, to take appropriate steps to protect the children, and shifted the blame. It may even be argued that these people are accomplices,” said Bam.”

Let us not be accomplices in cases of abuse against children and vulnerable adults. Let us not fail in our duty of care and get safeguarding policies, procedures and practices in place in sport.

For information on safeguarding or assistance visit Safe Sport Africa

SSA New Logo

Posted by: Norman Brook | December 13, 2017

Sport developing Employability Skills for the Future of Jobs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development[1] recognise that sport is an important enabler of sustainable development. Sport is making a contribution to the realisation of peace and development, promoting tolerance and respect, encouraging the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities and contributing to health, education and social inclusion objectives.

The Commonwealth Secretariat published a guide titled “Enhancing the contribution of sport to the Sustainable Development Goals”[2] which seeks to provide direction for governmental policy-makers, and other stakeholders, to enable sport to make the fullest possible contribution to sustainable development. The guide considers the contribution that can be made by sport to Good Health & Well-Being (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Decent Work & Economic Growth (SDG 8), Sustainable Cities & Communities (SDG 11), Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions (SDG 16), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).


In this article, we consider how encouraging young people to participate in sport either as players or as young sports leaders might promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG Goal 8).

The Commonwealth Secretariat guide notes that “sport can contribute to the development of core skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.” Participation in sport as a player or young sports leader can help develop core and entrepreneurial skills and increase an individual’s employability.

Access to a good education is important especially as opportunities for unskilled work around the world are falling away due to increased automisation and jobs requiring specific technical skills increase.  Employers need people with appropriate qualifications and technical skills, but they also need people that have the soft skills required to fulfil the role and contribute to an organisation’s success.

Employers are increasingly seeking employees that possess core employability skills as well as specialist, technical skills and it is these soft skills that can be transferred between different jobs and different employment sectors that sport may be good at developing in young people.

Sport is recognised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO)[3] as a useful means of engaging unemployed youth and working with those who have not attended or completed school.  It is also a means of teaching those in education core employability skills in an informal set outside of the classroom.

Young people who participate in sport are often more successful at gaining employment and tend to earn more money than those who do not.[4] [5] It would appear that participation in sport develops core skills that employers want to see in their employees and that these skills help individuals become successful in the work place.

Sport2Work Manual


In writing a multi-sport manual called “Sport2Work”[6] for the GIZ in Ethiopia designed to help young people transfer core skills developed through sport to the workplace, Norman Brook, Donny Jurgens and Nick Grau were informed by research undertaken by Karen Petry and Louis Moustakas.[7]  They selected the following core skills or competences as being important in the context of the Ethiopian labour market. Using a process called “connected coaching” coaches using the manual are able to help young people make an “intentional connection” with the core skills or competences they develop through participation in sport as a player or young sports leader and the application application of these soft skills in the workplace.

In the GIZ Manual the following core skills or competences were identified:

  1. Communication
  2. Leading a Team
  3. Decision Making
  4. Cooperation
  5. Goal Orientation
  6. Self-Responsibility
  7. Self-Discipline
  8. Adaptive & Creativity

The manual which used the sports of football, basketball, handball and volleyball to teach employability skills to young people can be accessed online using this link.

According to the World Economic Forum[8] come 2020, over one-third of skills (35%) of the core skills that were considered important in the workforce just a few years ago will have changed. New developments driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform the way we live and work. Some jobs will disappear, others will grow and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace. The employees of the future workforce will need to develop key core skills if they are to keep pace with change in the labour market.

The following infographic illustrates the changing nature of these skills. The ten core skills projected by the World Economic Forum to become important by 2020 can all be developed through participation in sport either as a player or as a young sports leader.

Future of Jobs Skills

Complex Problem Solving

“The ability to find solutions to difficult or complex issues.”

Players need to make choices in games or competitions that help them or their teams perform well. No two games are ever the same, different environment, different opposition, different conditions, and even a different make up of your own team, present issues on the field that need to be solved if the player or team is to be successful.

Critical Thinking

“Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.”

Players learn from their experiences on the sports field by reviewing their performance and apply their learning to new situations.


“The ability to transcend traditional thinking and create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.”

If players or teams keep doing what they have always done on the sports field they will quickly lose a competitive advantage. Players need to be creative, develop and try out new approaches to keep ahead of their opposition.

People Management

“The ability to lead, motivate, train, inspire, and encourage others.”

Sport provides the opportunity for players to become leaders. All players in a team have the opportunity to lead, motivate, support and encourage their team mates not just the Team Captain.

Coordinating with Others

“The ability to work with others to achieve a common purpose.”

In team sports it is obvious that successful teams learn how to work together to achieve a common goal, but even in individual sports there it is likely that the player will be surrounded by a team that supports their participation in the sport.

Emotional Intelligence

“The ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions.”

Participation in sport can help young people to recognise, contextualise, and learn how to manage their different emotions. Players experience highs and lows in performance, winning and losing, and through such experience learn how they react and how to manage how they feel.

Judgement & Decision Making

“The ability to make a decision after careful thought.”

Through playing sport, young people learn how to analyse situations and make quick decisions. The decisions they make on the field will impact the outcome of the game so they need to learn to make wise decisions even when they are under pressure.

Service Orientation

“To have empathy for a customer’s needs coupled with the desire to meet those needs.”

A player’s customers may be his/her teammates, their supporters, sponsors, etc. Players learn how to best support their teammates on and off the field. They learn how to communicate with their supporters often using social media to stage engaged with them. They learn how to promote the brands of their sponsors.


“The ability to engage with others to reach an agreement.”

Especially in team sports, players will develop negotiation skills as they seek to agree how they will play together on the field.  When challenges arise they need to be able to discuss issues and agree the way forward. In individual sports, players will have these types of conversations with other players, their coaches and support team.

Cognitive Flexibility

“The mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.”

Sport is fast moving and involves interpreting multiple cues. Players need to deal with the here and now, but also be cognisant of what will be coming next. Sport helps develop cognitive flexibility as players have to deal with a fast changing set of circumstances on the field.  There is also some research that suggests that high levels of fitness improve cognitive flexibility.

Sport can contribute to the full and productive employment by helping young people develop core employability skills that are going to be a prerequisite for future employment. Sports based programmes aimed at preparing young people for future work should consider the ten core skills identified by the World Economic Forum and develop approaches that help young people make an intentional connection between the skill they are using on the sports field and its importance to future employment

[1] Kerry Allen, Steve Bullough, Doug Cole, Simon Shibli and Jayne Wilson. The Impact of Engagement in Sport on Graduate Employability; Final Report. Sheffield Hallam University, Sport Industry Research Centre, 2013, downloaded from  Accessed 1 May 2013.

[1] Pete Coffee and David Lavallee. Winning Students are Employable Students. University of Stirling, School of Sport, 2014 downloaded from   Accessed 1 May 2016.

[1] UN General Assembly, Transforming our world : the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 21 October 2015, A/RES/70/1, available at: %5Baccessed 21 November 2017]

[2] Iain Lindsey and Tony Chapman, Enhancing the contribution of sport to the Sustainable Development Goals, Commonwealth Secretariat 2017, downloaded from Accessed 19 November 2017.

[3] International Labour Organization (ILO) (2013), Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013: A Generation at Risk, available at:–en/index.htm Accessed 20 November 2017

[4] Kerry Allen, Steve Bullough, Doug Cole, Simon Shibli and Jayne Wilson. The Impact of Engagement in Sport on Graduate Employability; Final Report. Sheffield Hallam University, Sport Industry Research Centre, 2013, downloaded from  Accessed 1 May 2013.

[5] Pete Coffee and David Lavallee. Winning Students are Employable Students. University of Stirling, School of Sport, 2014 downloaded from   Accessed 1 May 2016.

[6] Norman Brook, Donny Jurgens, and Nicholas Grau. Sport2Work Manual. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn and Eschborn, Germany, downloaded from…/giz2017-en-sport2work-manual-ethiopia.pdf Accessed March 2017.

[7] Karen Petry and Louis Moustakas,. Development of a Sport2Work Manual in Ethiopia: Analysis, Recommendations and Conception. Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies, Cologne, 2016.

[8] World Economic Forum. Future of Jobs Report 2016. Downloaded from Accessed 20 November 2017.

Brook Sport Consulting has just completed three facilitator training courses, two for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) conducted over two weekends in Budapest, Hungary, and one for the International Triathlon Union conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The UCI courses were to train tutors for the UCI Elite National and International Commissaire Courses as facilitators of adult learning using learner centred teaching approaches. Course participants attended from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Norman Brook was assisted during the course by Wayne Pomario from the Union Cycliste Internationale.

The ITU course saw a mix of triathlon coaches, technical officials and administrators training to facilitate learning within the ITU’s global education programme. Course participants drawn from Greece, Hong Kong, Latvia, Macau, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Taipei and Uzbekistan. Norman Brook was assisted during the course by Thanos Nikopoulos from the International Triathlon Union.

Malaysia 2017 Triathlon

ITU Facilitators Course Malaysia 2017

Here is a selection of the positive feedback we received by email from course participants after they had returned home:

“It was a very fruitful training which I believe will help me a lot in delivering effective courses in future.”

“To attend facilitator course has been very enriching to me, for sure it will be useful in my work but also personally.

“I wanted to thank you for the fantastic seminar, it was really eye opening. I took away a lot from these days and I hope I will be able to incorporate soon.”

“It was a very interesting and useful course; I’m sure that all the information you gave us will be used also in normal life.”

“I am very pleased for the great experience lived in Budapest where I have learned and appreciated a very high quality teaching techniques, under the didactic and human aspects.  In particular, I have appreciated your professionalism and your fantastic experience, your teaching will serve me to improve my way of transmitting knowledge, competence, language expression, organizing and conducting of a course with the goal of achieving the outcome of learning by the candidates through their involvement in knowing their skills and abilities. You have been a perfect teacher, thanks to you that I feel much improved.”

“Your course was perfect. Thanks for it. Will be very helpful.”

“I really enjoyed the course and to get to know you. I am already applying, in my classes, some of the things I have learned in the course.”

“Thank you for the information and the wonderful course you have given us. The course has already helped me in both sporting and professional aspects of my life and has been a great inspiration!”

“This weekend was a life changing one for me. It may not look like it, but you don’t know how much impact it did to me.”

“As I told you and Thanos… I never learn and change so much of my way in our Facilitator course.”

“Thank you both for a truly enlightening experience, that ah-ha moment when the penny drops. There is so much to digest which I am sure will happen over time as I put the knowledge into practice. I am excited and looking forward to the journey ahead.”

Children in South Africa are victims of child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual or neglect) or trafficking. 1 in 3 children will suffer sexual abuse and more than half will experience physical abuse. South Africa has one of the worst records in the world for child abuse.
Sport mirrors or reflects society, its virtues and vices, what happens in society also happens in sport. So if children are being abused in South African society it is safe to assume the abuse of children is prevalent in sport in South Africa.
Unlike many countries around the world where the safeguarding of children in sport has become a priority and a key component of good governance and integrity, little is being done in South Africa to forward this agenda.
We were deighted to be asked by Donny Jurgens and Western Province Athletics to conduct a session for their Team Managers on Implementing Safeguards for Children in Sport.
Using the UNICEF International Safeguards for Children in Sport the participants at the session:
  • recognised their legal and moral duty to safeguard children
  • identified the main forms of abuse and related poor practice in sport;
  • recognised the potential impact of not having safeguards in place;
  • reviewed the eight international safeguards and identified those safeguards that were or were not in place.
The red cards shown in the photograph above indicates that one of the eight safeguard was not in place. Although we had more red than amber or green cards, this was the first step in the process, raising awareness and helping Western Province Athletics identify what safeguards they are missing.
Much more needs to be done to develop Safe Sport in Africa and many more workshops like this are needed.
Posted by: Norman Brook | July 26, 2017

World Class Workshops

Brook Sport Consulting are now offering four World Class Workshops facilitated by leading sports education facilitators:

  • Facilitating Learning in Sports Organisations
  • Using Mentoring in Sports Organisations
  • Safeguarding Children in Sport; Developing Policy & Practice
  • Connected Coaching: Using Coaching Skills to Develop Young People


This three day “train the trainer” workshop has been delivered for a range of International Sports Federations and International NGOs around the world and prepares trainers to facilitate learning in both classroom and practical settings. The workshop is designed for those working in sports federation education programmes and for those working in the sport for peace and development sector.

“I have been on several ‘train the trainer’ courses over the years through my corporate life, but must admit I was extremely impressed with the style, content and effectiveness of this course. Norman ‘facilitated’ a course of world standard in my opinion. The experience & knowledge within the room was impressive and he was able to take us all to a new level of thinking & ensure that an encouraging, supportive yet challenging environment was maintained.”

Mick Delamotte, Head Coach, High Performance Tri, Australia

“The course (GIZ Youth Development through Football Instructor Training) I am on is interesting. One of the lecturers, Norman Brook is world class, he has held courses worldwide for instructors.

Anna Nyman, LdB Football Club, Sweden

This workshop enables trainers to develop their facilitation skills through practical activity in both classroom and practical settings, to personally reflect on their skills, receive peer and tutor reviews, all in a safe and empowering environment. In addition to developing facilitation skills, the workshop provides participants the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the principles that underpin learning and development for adults in sporting contexts.


Mentoring is becoming an increasingly important component in the learning and development programmes of International and National Sports Federations. It is also a valuable strategy for the development of young people in sport for peace and development programmes.


This workshop, which can be delivered over 1-2 days, outlines principles behind successful mentoring programmes and provides participants with the opportunity to practice key skills used by mentors to support mentees in their development.


Safeguarding is becoming a critical issue for all organisations providing children with the opportunity to participate in sport. Sports organisations have both a moral and legal duty of care to protect children and need to be able to assess and mitigate the risk of children being abused whilst participating in sport.


This workshop is based on the implementation of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport as developed under the leadership of UNICEF UK.

We offer a two-hour workshop to raise awareness of the importance and implications of safeguarding children in sport or a two-day workshop to assist sports organisations to plan to develop and implement their safeguarding policy and procedures to meet the standards set out in the International Safeguards for Children in Sport.


This two-day workshop helps sports coaches to develop the capability to use their coaching skills to not just develop the player’s physical, cognitive, technical and tactical sporting skills but also to develop the player’s values, personal, social and health skills. Connected coaching puts the coach at the heart of programmes designed not just to develop the player but also to develop the person.


All though it is widely believed that participation in sport can develop qualities in young people that lead to them being able to make positive and healthy choices in life, research suggests this can only occur when an intentional connection is made between lessons learned on the sports field and their implications for life as a whole.

It is the coach that helps make this connection through the application of the same coaching skills that are applied to develop a player’s physical, cognitive, technical and tactical sporting skills.  This workshop examines these skills and provides the opportunity to practice their application to the teaching of values, personal, social and health skills.

If you would like to learn more about our workshops, please contact:

Norman Brook

Brook Sports Consulting

Cell: + 27 (0)82 295 8208


Skype: norman.brook


Norman Brook delivered a “Safeguarding; Developing your Policy” Workshop in Gaborone, Botswana, for National Netball Federations in conjunction with the International Netball Federation’s World Youth Championships and Annual Congress.


The workshop was attended by around 20 delegates and officers from the International Netball Federation.

The workshop stressed the importance of safeguarding children in sport and the risks to sports federations who neglect to prioritize their moral and legal duty of care to protect children participating in their sport.


The workshop is based on the International Safeguards for Children in Sport which were developed under the leadership of UNICEF UK. Norman Brook led delegates through the eight safeguards and enabled them to assess their compliance using a traffic light system of green for fully compliant, amber for work in progress and red for non compliant.

The International Netball Federation is promoting the safeguarding children in netball as part of their strategic goal of promoting governance with integrity. The workshop in Gaborone was made possible through a partnership with UK Sport’s International Relations Directorate.


Posted by: Norman Brook | May 27, 2017

Sport2Work Manual Published

The GIZ in Ethiopia has published the Sport2Work Manual in English with a version also to be published in Amharic the official language in Ethiopia.

Sport2Work Manual

The manual was written by sport for development consultants Norman Brook, Donny Jurgens and Niklas Grau with input from Dr Karen Petry of the German Sports University in Cologne and the GIZ Sport for Development in Africa Project Team.

The Sport2Work Manual aims to help coaches in four team sports – basketball, football, handball, and volleyball – develop employability skills that are transferable to the workplace in young people through sports activity on and off the field.

The manual has been designed primarily for use in TVET institutions linking to National Occupation Standards, but can also be used in High Schools, Sports Federations and the NGO sector.

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