EP 42 – Wade Gilbert, PhD – Small Towns, Environmental Engineering, and Developing Better Coaches


“Kids get to train alongside, be close to, connect with, these high performing athletes, world class, world champions in many cases, and it just becomes normal”.

My guest on the show today is an award-winning professor in the department of kinesiology at California State University at Fresno. His name is Dr. Wade Gilbert, he holds degrees in physical education, human kinetics, and education and has taught and studied coaching, talent development, and psychobiology at the University of Ottawa (Canada), UCLA, and Fresno State.

Wade has more than 20 years of experience in conducting applied research with coaches from around the world, and spanning all competitive levels including youth leagues, the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Wade is widely published and frequently invited to speak at national and international events. He also serves as the editor in chief of the International Sport Coaching Journal.

In this episode, I chat with Wade about his formative years growing up playing ice hockey in small town Canada, his research on athlete development in ‘small towns’, how he thinks about developing better coaches, and much more.

Dr Gilbert is one of the best. I hope you enjoy the show.

Highlights from the Show

  • Sources of competitive fire
  • Finding joy in sport
  • Environmental engineering
  • Normalising excellence
  • The importance of cross-age play
  • Authentic learning and reflective practice
  • Pre-performance routines
  • Noticing cues
  • Extending the ‘change of development’