The Difference between Training and Development

Training and Development are common terms used within the educational, business and sports industries. While training and Development are related they are still very different, with different objectives and outcomes.


Training focuses around immediate delivery of content to the participant. Training will have specific objectives that are seen as being able to be completed within a short period of time (or the life of the course). Other characteristics will include a specific period of course length and pre-determined outcomes.


Development on the other hand is focused not necessarily on specific and defined outcomes, but reflect the need of a coach to be flexible, dynamic and innovative. Development looks to enhance the skills of the participant through meaningful change and advancement to the point where the growth of the individual becomes an ongoing personal standard.


Coaching is about knowledge initially, before moving into doing, which in turn leads to understanding and then hopefully innovation. Development meets this need by tailoring the improvement needed with the coaches overall talents and characteristics. The current array of basketball training courses do not meet this need or the requirements for the sport’s ultimate health and longevity.


This is because coaching at some point changes from being about understanding the basics of fundamental techniques and tactical strategies. The emphasis then changes to a coach being able to adapt and adjust their training sessions, game coaching and all things basketball to reflect the current context demanded by their team.


Books behind the bed
Training vs. Development (Photo credit: zimpenfish)

Both training and development are both needed within the gambit of options available to deal with the vigorous demands of sports infrastructure now and into the future. Training courses do provide a vital bridge for delivering rapid information communication. It is not a difficult process to incorporate a constant improvement culture. Examples of the possibilities are:


  • Competency based training
  • Registration and Renewal
  • Mentoring programs
  • Resource pooling


These activities can be included into training programs to help with the one dimensional focus of courses being purely an information dump. Additionally by weaving mentoring programs into training courses this will include development activities which give a longer term support to the coach.


Development has a place within the education of our coaches at all levels. Development has a number of benefits to the coach and the sporting community. A key to development for junior to intermediate coaches is the ability to be linked to a support network in their local communities. This can be coaches at their local club, association, school or college. These coaches provide feedback to the developing coach on an ongoing basis. At the start of this supportive process the focus of feedback will be simplistic and around the fundamentals of the sport. But as the coach develops so too the complexity and depth of the content discussed can take any number of different pathways.


Development for Intermediate coaches means an open pipeline to knowledge and experience which leads to national, professional and international coaching competence. These types of opportunities might take the shape of internships/work placements with professional or College teams. Other significant events might be access to “on court” camps or study tours where coaches can learn through seeing and doing from the current leaders in the industry.


Training and development are both needed for the ongoing health of sports around the globe. The importance should be on getting the balance right so more development is incorporated and less use of the training course vehicle to overload future coaches with information.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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