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.

There seems to be quite some concern in Sport for Development and Peace circles that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced that the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) has closed. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan created the UNOSDP, appointing the first Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Adolf Ogi in February 2001. Wilfried Lemke was appointed as the 2nd Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace by Ban Ki Moon. Lemke stepped down at the end of 2016 and many had been awaiting to learn whom Guterres would appoint as his special advisor.

The decision not to appoint a special advisor and to close down the UNOSDP would appear to be linked to an increasing partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Secretary-General has agreed with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, to establish a direct partnership between the UN and the International Olympic Committee.  Accordingly, it was decided to close the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP).”

The IOC was granted observer status by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2009 giving it the possibility of attending all UN General Assembly meetings where it can take the floor and promote sport. In addition to its 193 member states, the UN General Assembly may grant observer status to an international organization, entity or non-member state, which entitles the entity to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly, though with limitations.

In 2015, a historic moment for sport and the IOC, sport was officially recognized as an “important enabler” of sustainable development and included in the United Nations 2030 Agenda. IOC President Thomas Bach was invited to speak at the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals where he described sport as a natural partner for the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.

Paragraph 37 of “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” reads: “Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognise the growing contribution of sport to the realisation of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”

More recently the IOC has appointed Philip French as Director of its Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Department and formed a Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport[i] (formerly the International Relations Commission) lead by Mario Pescante to advise the IOC Session, Executive Board and President on strategies to promote the role of sport and Olympism in society and to position the IOC as a thought leader and a strong actor on the international stage around sport for development and peace in and beyond the Games. In doing so the stage was set for this commission to take over the role of the former Special Advisor and UNOSDP.

The responsibilities of the IOC Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Commission are to:

  • Devise strategies to advocate for the integration of sport and physical activity in government policies and programmes, as well as international development policies and programmes;
  • Advise on engagement strategies with other key stakeholders and partners in sport for development, such as major organisations and institutions, the private sector (foundations, TOP sponsors, World Bank, etc.), and pressure groups (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc.);
  • Advise on strategies to develop impactful and sustainable grassroots sport for development and peace programmes with key selected and reputable strategic partners (UN, major NGOs, foundations);
  • Advise on the Sport for Hope Programme to ensure strong ongoing operations while developing sustainable operational models for the future;
  • Advise on a global communications strategy around sport for social change, leveraging various platforms and Olympians, as well as the Olympism in Action Congress;
  • Advise on how to further educate the Olympic Movement (NOCs, IFs, OCOGs, athletes) on the benefits of grassroots sport for development and peace, and help build their capacity to advocate, communicate and deliver around it.

With such a clear mandate for this IOC commission to further sport for development and peace, the IOC’s reach down through International Sports Federations and National Olympic Committees and the IOC’s observer status at the UN General Assembly, should we really be too concerned about the closure of the UNOSDP?

Perhaps those organisations that have a strong sport focus will welcome sport for development and peace being moved to the IOC whilst those organisations that are more focused on development outcomes would have preferred it to remain under the stewardship of the UN?

The role of the IOC Commission in educating the Olympic Movement on the benefits of grassroots sport for development and peace, and to help build capacity to advocate, communicate and deliver around should be welcomed by all who recognise the potential of sport to contribute to development and peace outcomes. The IOC has a huge reach and influence down to community level sport. Sports organisations in local communities are affiliated through National Sports Federation structures which are in turn are affiliated to International Sports Federations (ISFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The ISFs and NOCs being affiliated to the IOC. Through these structures the IOC is well placed to encourage sport to not just develop players but also promote values based life skills developing young people and addressing the social challenges identified in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many may feel the IOC’s focus is only on competitive sport and that other forms of physical activity that are included in sport for development and peace may be overlooked.  The United Nations Inter-Agency Taskforce of Sport for Development and Peace included play, recreation, organised, casual or competitive sport; and indigenous sports or games within their definition of sport. The goals set out above for the IOC Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Commission and the existence of other Commissions on Women in Sport, Sport and Active Society and Sustainability and Legacy may give some reassurance that the IOC has a wider remit than just competitive sport.

I remember Fred Coalter[ii] [iii] presenting to a meeting of Community Based SDP Organisations in Cape Town in 2010 where spoke of three approaches used by SDP organisations based on the relative emphasis given to sport to achieve certain outcomes.

  • “Traditional forms of provision for Sport, with an implicit assumption or explicit affirmation that such sport has inherent developmental properties for participants.”
  • Sport plus, in which sports are adapted and often augmented with parallel programmes in order to maximise their potential to achieve development objectives.”
  • Plus Sport, in which sports popularity is used as a type of ‘fly paper’ to attract young people to programmes of education and training, with the systematic development of sport rarely a strategic aim.”

Coalter challenged the implicit assumption or explicit affirmation that sport has inherent developmental properties for participants warning us to beware “sports evangelists” promoting such beliefs. This did not look good for sport as it seemed to point towards plus sport or sport plus as being more effective in achieving development or peace outcomes. The Sport Plus approach with sports being adapted or augmented with parallel non sport programmes seemed to diminish the role of sport. The Plus Sport approach where sport was used to attract young people into other programmes but where the sport itself was secondary importance also seemed to devalue the role of sport and its potential to be used to achieve development outcomes.

Gould and Carson[iv] point out that sport can have both positive and negative outcomes both in term of sporting skills and life skills.

Theokas et al[v] note that although participation is often linked with developmental benefits, mere participation does not confer benefits; the quality and implementation of sports programmes are the likely causal mechanisms of enjoyment and development.

According to Petitpas et al[vi] there is growing evidence, however, that if sport is structured in the right way and young people are surrounded by trained caring adult mentors, positive youth development is more likely to occur.

Danish et al[vii] suggest that simply disseminating information to participants alongside sports participation will not predictably produce the desired result of developing a young person’s life skills.  A better approach is the teaching of skills of how to succeed in life and why such skills are important. Moreover, skills, whether directed toward enhancing athletic performance or success in life, are taught in the same way – through demonstration, modelling and practice.

Gass[viii] noting that if sports programmes are designed to help the adolescent learn both sport and life skills, what is learned in the athletic venue must be able to be transferred to non-sport settings.

This suggests that there is potential to better design sports programmes to achieve development and peace outcomes and to train sports coaches to be able to coach value based life skills through sport.

The closing of the UNOSDP and the repositioning of sport for peace and development under the IOC presents the opportunity to mainstream sport for development and peace in traditional sports structures and to increase the reach of sport for development and peace movement. It also provides the opportunity to move Sport back to centre stage in the sport for development programming rather just using it as a means of attracting young people into other activities delivering development and peace outcomes.


[ii] Coalter, F., 2010. Sport-for-development: going beyond the boundary? Sport in Society: Culture, Commerce, Media, Politics, 13 (9) pp. 1374-1391.

[iii] Coalter, F., 2010. The politics of sport for development: Limited focus programmes and broad gauge problems?. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 45 (3), pp.296 – 311.

[iv] Gould, D., & Carson, S. (2008a). Life skills development through sport: current status and future directions. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1(1), 58–78.

[v] Theokas, C., Danish, S., Hodge, K., Heke, I. and Forneris, T., 2008. Enhancing life skills through sport for children and youth. Positive youth development through sport, 6, pp.71-81.

[vi] Petitpas, A. J., Van Raalte, J. L., Cornelius, A., and Presbrey, J. 2004 A life skills development program for high school student-athletes, Journal of Primary Prevention, 24: 325–34.

[vii] Danish, S.J. and Hale, B.D., 1981. Toward an understanding of the practice of sport psychology. Journal of Sport Psychology, 3(2).

[viii] Gass, M.A., 1985. Programming the transfer of learning in adventure education. Journal of Experiential Education, 8(3), pp.18-24.



Norman Brook has been appointed to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s Education and Training Commission. The commission is headed by SASCOC Vice President, Mr Barry Hendricks and comprises four members. The other members are Ms Marion Keim Lees, Ms Thoko Mlonyeni, and Mr Cecil Colin Abrahams.

The Commission’s Mandate is to provide policy guidelines and recommendations to the SASCOC Board on all matters relating to policies of Education and Training within the organization. Position’s on the Commission are regarded as a voluntary service.

SA Group 6

Norman Brook recently contributed to a three day Safeguarding Children in Sport workshop held in Johannesburg. The workshop was lead by Elias Musangeya and Jemima Coates from UK Sport and was facilitated by Wilbert Muchunguzi from Keeping Children Safe. The workshop was attended by representatives from the sports of Cycling, Netball, Rowing and Triathlon.

The workshop afforded participants the opportunity of considering what needs to be done in their sports to implement the International Safeguards for Children in Sport which were developed by a working group representing a range of sport and sport for development stakeholders which was lead by of UNICEF UK.

Attending the workshop were participants from Botswana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Posted by: Norman Brook | March 20, 2017

Sport Workforce Development

Sport is delivered through a workforce that is comprised of both salaried staff and volunteers. The workforce comprises administrators, technical officials, coaches and other roles specific to the sport. Sport needs a competent workforce to deliver a quality sports experience to their participants that requires access to learning and development opportunities in order to build their competences.

International and national sports federations are increasingly seeking to develop sport by investing in the learning and development of their workforce. Individuals working in sport learn through a mixture of activities including practicing in the field, completing formal sports education qualifications, self-directed study, by attending conferences, workshops and seminars, and through mentoring or being a member of a community of practice.  Traditionally sports federations would deliver face to face training leading to a formal sports education qualification or certificate. Advances now see sports federations supporting the learning and development of their workforce by supporting the different ways in which people learn.  An example of this would be the introduction of blended or hybrid learning where online digital media is combined with traditional classroom methods.

Sport Workforce Learning & Development Opportunities

Figure 1: Sport Workforce Learning & Development Opportunities

Sports organizations are increasingly looking at a learning and development strategy for their workforce that asks what are the competences we need to develop in our staff and volunteers to enable them to perform their roles to the best of their ability. Strategies that include formal sports education programs with clear outcomes that focus on developing the applied competency or capability of the workforce. Programs that are outcome driven and can be evaluated.

In addition to designing education programs which feature traditional face to face training courses, many sports federations are using online platforms to blend pre-course and post-course study with the instructed course.  They are also supporting ongoing learning and development outside of formal sports education courses and qualifications by delivering continuing professional development opportunities in the form of conferences, workshops and seminars and are delivering formal mentoring programs.  This ongoing education and learning activity following on from traditional sports education courses and qualifications helping the sports workforce move from competence to capability i.e. not just being competent to undertake a task, but having the ability to adapt tasks in new situations.

Applied Competency

Figure 2: Supporting Learners to Shift from Competence to Capability

In order to deliver a comprehensive sports education program, many sports organisations are developing a team of people who support the education and development of the workforce. These sports educators work to:

  • Develop organizational strategies to support the learning and development of the sport’s workforce;
  • Design education programs and develop resources to support learning;
  • Facilitate the learning and development of the workforce in face to face settings;
  • Conduct assessment of learners seeking to gain a qualification/certificate;
  • Mentor learners in the field;
  • Evaluate and verify the delivery of sports education programs.

Sports educators can be program developers, facilitators, mentors, assessors or verifiers.

Brook Sports Consulting has years of experience in developing individuals working in sport and supporting sports organizations to develop and deliver education programs.  We are currently working on sports education projects for a number of International Sports Federations. We also have experience of developing the workforce within organizations that specialize in using sport for development outcomes.  Developing sport for development programs, resources and people.


Photo 1: Developing a Sport for Development Education Program for use in TVET Colleges in Ethiopia.


Photo 2: Participants at the ITU/ASTC Facilitators Workshop held in Kuala Lumpur 2012

Brook Sports Consulting offer support in developing sport education strategies and programs, in developing learning resources, in training facilitators, mentors, assessors and verifiers.








Posted by: Norman Brook | March 9, 2017

Building Sporting & Life Competences

Posted by: Norman Brook | March 3, 2017

Developing Independent, Confident & Skilled Athletes

Richard Mayer is a South African athletics coach, runner, athletics statistician and an advocate for the Lydiard approach to running.  He recently asked this question in a running forum:

“I belong to the school of coaching that tends to make the coach redundant – if you guide your athlete well enough over 4 to 5 years, she or he should be able to do it on her/his own and only need your guidance when problems arise – However, where I do believe the coach must monitor and interact with an athlete extensively is in the crucial peaking phase – the business end of the training programme and periodisation cycle- what do other people think?”

This is my response:

One of long term aims of coaching should be to build the athlete’s awareness, their confidence and to enable them to take responsibility for themselves in training and competition. A level of awareness that enables them to make good decisions in training, in competition and in life. The confidence to act independently and to take responsibility for their own actions and resulting performance.

Coaches need over a period of time to transfer control from coach to athlete. Coaching should be athlete centred and designed to meet the needs of an athlete at the time reflecting the stage of development they have reached. The style of coaching adopted by the coach therefore changes over time as the athlete develops increased awareness, confidence and responsibility.

Coaches should want the athletes they coach to become independent thinkers and decision makers and to see their role as coaches change from being that of an instructor to that of an advisor.

The conscious competence learning model helps us think about how athletes progress as they learn and to reflect on how our coaching style should change to meet the changing needs of the athlete.

The conscious competence model has four stages:

Unconscious Incompetent –  At this stage the athlete does not know very much and they have low levels of skill.  A young beginner athlete entering the sport for the first time would most likely be at this stage.

Conscious Incompetent – At this stage the athlete understands what they need to do to perform but has still not developed the skill levels required to be competent.

Conscious Competent – At this stage the understands what they need to do to perform and has developed the skills needed to perform with competence, but they need to make a concentrated effort when doing so.

Unconscious Competent – At this stage the athlete can perform with competence without needing to think to much about it.

As the athlete progresses through these stages of learning the style of coaching they need changes.

  1. The unconscious incompetent athlete needs direction. They need to coach to tell them what to do and to explain why they are doing it. This would apply especially to young beginner athletes who do not know very much about the sport and have yet to develop their skills. Here the coach makes decisions and directs.
  2. The conscious incompetent athlete knows what needs to be done and why they are doing it, but has not yet master the skill. The athlete needs to be coached. Here the coach consults with the athlete helping to develop their awareness, confidence and responsibility, but largely leads on decisions.
  3. The conscious competent athlete knows what to do, why they are doing it and has developed good levels of skill. At this stage they still have to make concentrated effort. Responsibility has moved from the coach to the athlete who now makes the decisions in consultation with the coach who has moved from being a coach to being a mentor.
  4. The unconscious competent athlete has a high level of awareness is confident and takes responsibility for their own participation and performance in training and competition. Responsibility has been delegated down from the coach to the athlete. The athlete will consult with the coach from time to time to seek support or advice.

I would recommend all coaches to read Ken Blanchard’s classic book Leadership and the One Minute Manager.[i] Although this is a business management book, it is also essentially a coaching book that introduces the concept of Situational Leadership, explaining how to coach people at different stages of their development.


Of course, it is important to recognise that a coach may need to change their coaching style in different situations in order to meet the specific needs of an athlete. An athlete you are coaching, for example, may be at the conscious competent stage in terms of skill related drills they use in training. You then as the coach decide to introduce the athlete to a new drill. At the start the coach needs to introduce the new drill by providing direction. As the athlete practices and starts to understand and develop the skill involved in performing the drill they require coaching. Once the athlete masters the drill the coach moves to supporting them.

We need to recognise then that the coach needs to be able to direct, coach, support and delegate and that anyone of these different styles of coaching may be called upon depending on the athletes being coached and their level of competence.

Over time our aim will be to build the awareness and confidence of the athletes we coach and to progress them the stage where they can take responsibility for their training and competition. The point where coach can sit in the background with a smile and recognise a job well done.

[i] Ken Blanchard (2015), Leadership and the One Minute Manager, Harper Collins, New York. IBSN:978-0-00-710341-6


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