The Challenges and Strategies of Foreign Coaches Working with Chinese Olympic Teams

Calloway Jimmy, Kennesaw State University
Jin Wang, Kennesaw State University


In the Olympic arena, coaches have gradually become internationalized in the 21st century and borders between countries have disappeared in terms of coaching. The Chinese Olympic Committee has invested a great deal of resources in hiring foreign Olympic coaches to improve the performances in their less successful areas and also provide the opportunity for the Chinese coaches to learn from the foreign coaches' expertise. During this process, many foreign coaches working in China have faced significant challenges and obstacles and many of them failed to achieve their goals. It is clear that possessing technical and sports science knowledge alone is not enough to ensure that a foreign coach will be successful in another country. There are many other challenges and obstacles that must be faced, such as the differences of culture, political structures, customs, language, communication, style of administration, coaching philosophy, sports system, etc. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to address the following issues: (1) the major challenges and obstacles of foreign coaches working with Chinese Olympic teams and (2) the strategies and recommendations for foreign coaches to effectively work with Chinese teams in the future. It is hoped that this paper will promote in international Olympic coaches with a conscious awareness of and sensitivity to the Chinese culture so that they can successfully overcome many unexpected challenges and barriers when working in China successfully