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News from the UKA coach education team
JANUARY- MARCH 2022
Below are bullet point updates on recent activity by the coach education and development team. Further detail about these can be found further down the newsletter or by contacting the coach education team here.

– UKA Development twitter communication account launched 21st October 2021 @ukadevelopment
– Strategy Launch – 27th October 2021. See the Strategy and the Explainer video here.
– Four Q&A webinars about the strategy for coaches – November 3rd-November 12th 2021
– Discipline specific advisory panel recruitment process completed and positions filled.
– Nine coach profiles communicated so far with more coming soon. Read them here.
– Accessibility Standard for online learning provision completed, with staff orientated in application of the standard – December 1st
– Leading on hills and trails (off-road) module for Leaders in Running and Fitness pilots launched (in partnership with the FRA)

 

Coaching Strategy Q&A Webinars

Four webinars were held in the month of November and attendance was across a breadth of coaching environments and coaching experience, generating positive engagement and questions. A summary of the questions asked with responses is below. For a reminder of the strategy please click here.

Q1- How will you understand the numbers of active coaches working within Athletics Clubs?

A – The new system will include a requirement for the coach to demonstrate ongoing learning for licence renewal. The detail of this is in development and will be consulted on with the Forums, but is likely to be a mixture of self-guided evidenced practice and mandatory CPD units.

Communities of Practice will be a part of the system with the aim of shared learning and networking opportunities. Through the CoPs we will have a better understanding of the number of active coaches

We will collect data that will provide insight into the numbers of coaches we have in each role, each environment, each stage of development, whether the focus is on performance or participation.

Q2 – How can we make coaching a paid career when the expectation is that coaches will volunteer?

A – With a shift in mindset and the implementation of sustainable business models within our clubs. There are clubs that are already set up this way. Coaching is paid for through the athlete’s membership fees, which are higher than the average club fees.

We are seen as a very inexpensive sport and arguably sell ourselves short in comparison to other sports. We can take a steer from some of those sports who have modernised and gone from a volunteer workforce to a ‘mixed economy’ or even completely professional.

By doing so, they attract more coaches and grow their clubs which, in turn, raises their profile and brings in more investment and finance.

Q3 – Will Athletics 365 provide the spine of the technical developments for the Children’s Coach?

A – 365 will certainly be a part of it. We are also looking at other Physical Literacy programmes and games curriculums that focus on movement skills such as ‘I Coach Kids’

Q4 – What will the emphasis be for off-track and non-Olympic/Commonwealth endurance events within the new coaching strategy?

A – As outlined in the Operational Plan there will be a “Greater appreciation of non-Olympic and non-Paralympic disciplines”. This will include cross country, mountain running and ultra-distance endurance events. The Endurance Advisory Panel will provide leadership in this area and there will be a commercial strategy to identify funding for them. The Learning Development Framework will identify off-track and off-road as ‘coaching environments’. Coaches will be able access learning in these areas.

Q5 – What specific populations will you identify for Talent and Performance Coach programmes?

A – Based on research – to become an expert coach, experience in the following domains should be considered:

– Athlete Experience
– Coaching Experience
– Education

Coaches will come into their roles with experience of varying degrees in each of these domains: Former athletes (athlete experience)

PE teachers or coaches from other sports (coaching experience), Students with qualifications in coaching, sport science etc. (Education)

We will recognise that experience and coaches will take the modules that are needed to bridge any gaps.

Coaches may choose to go straight to assessment if they have already gained knowledge and experience required.

Q6 – This looks expensive – particularly having coach developers out on the ground. How will you pay for it?

A – We need a sustainable model. This means clubs and coaches continuing to invest in education and training for the good of the club and athletes that it serves and with athletes and parents of athletes to value the coaching they receive and to be happy to pay as in other sports and activities.

We will ensure that the learning materials we source and the development opportunities we provide are cost-effective and that any revenue is ploughed back into the system to ensure that learning remains value for money and up to date.

Q7 – How quickly will the Learning Development Framework be rolled out?

A – Work has begun on the roles that we currently are not catering for – Advanced Children’s Coach, Advanced Youth Coach and Performance Coach. We aim to pilot those in the autumn of 2022.

Once we have established those courses, we will set to work on the Club Coach and Advanced Coach modules with the aim of finalising them in 2023.

The entry level courses – LiRF and Coaching Assistant are likely to remain very similar to how they are now, but may be differentiated for each role (children’s, youth, performance etc.)

Development to put Coaching Assistant online is in progress.

 

Q8 – Will the strategy consider a register of coaches who may have reached a point in their day to day working life that would afford them more time to get involved in athletics coaching initiatives/opportunities?

A – One of the findings that came out of the consultation was that coaches are ‘time poor’ and many would like to dedicate more time to coaching. There are clubs and academies that are already set up to offer more coaching and more hours of coaching for their athletes and there are more that are interested in working towards that model. We will work closely with those clubs to support them and the coaches able to dedicate more time. In addition, we have been looking at how we recruit team coaches and managers for representative competitions. We aim to develop a more diverse coaching workforce and will be using open recruitment processes for the available positions. Keep your eyes on the websites and social media for these opportunities.

Q9 – Will the strategy include opportunities to concentrate on certain aspects of coaching i.e periodisation, session planning and their purpose within a training block, physical preparation incorporating the importance of S&C?

A – The Learning Development Framework is being designed to be flexible and learner-centred. There will be some modules that all coaches should complete but there will also be a ‘pick and mix’ element. If a coach already has qualifications in a certain area such as physiology, they would not need to do a module on Energy Systems, for example. There will be a wide selection of modules in all areas of coaching process, athlete development and the ‘ologies’.

Everything that a coach needs to know, do and be, will be covered including planning, periodisation, S&C.

Q10 – Will you integrate with UK Coaching and World Athletics for the Learning and Development Framework?

A – World Athletics and UK Coaching originally developed their educational offerings for the smaller countries (WA) and smaller governing bodies (UK Coaching) who don’t have the capacity to develop their own. We used some of World Athletics’ technical content for the old Level 2 Event Specific Day but, other than that, we have used very little. We have several meetings planned over the next month with UK Coaching, World Athletics and European Athletics to look at the courses and modules they have and are developing and may work with them to bring those modules into our framework.

Q11 – What is CIMSPA and will you be working to the CIMSPA standards?

A – CIMSPA is the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity. We are working in partnership with CIMSPA and the Learning and Development Framework will be aligned to the professional standards that CIMSPA sets for the sector.

Q12 – Will you ask qualified coaches to pay for reassessment to transfer over to the new framework if there are identified gaps in the knowledge and skills covered from previous qualifications?

A – At this present time, we don’t know what the cost will be or how that will be covered but predict that we will provide transition workshops at low cost or no cost to the coach.

Q13 – Will you be working with other organisations like the FRA?

A – Yes – we already work with the FRA. We will also be contacting the World Mountain Running Association for their input into performance modules in the off-road environment. We are seeking partners with expertise in all relevant areas.

Q14 – Will you be working with a number of clubs to pilot various aspects and how can clubs reach out to you?

A – We are very keen to hear from clubs that can help us with pilots or to become the ‘trailblazers’! In particular, we want to support clubs with their coaching structures and business models. We plan to have more Coach Developers in clubs or in clusters of clubs so, if this is an area that you have already explored or have ideas, please get in touch.

Q15 – How will you work with clubs to better support coach development at the front end of the sport?

A – Clubs are integral to this and Club Modernisation is a key focus for us. This is not only within the Coaching Working Group – the UKA and HCAF Development Working Group are focussed on supporting clubs with Governance and Planning, Financial/Employment Support, Club Operations, Marketing and Communications, Facilities, Officials Development and more.

In the Coaching and Athlete Development space, we plan to support clubs with the following:

– Understanding the number and quality of coaches required to grow the club.

– Processes for safe recruitment of coaches.

– Succession planning including internal and external recruitment of coaches.

– Coaching structure with coaches in place at every level of the pathway.

– Implementing a multi-event approach at Foundation and Event Group level.

– Record keeping of license renewal dates for coaches.

– Support for coaches continued learning.

– Needs-led coach training and development plans.

– Reviewing and recording athlete engagement and satisfaction.

– Reviewing and recording athlete development.

– Providing intra and inter club competitions, races or events within guidelines.

Q16 – How will you support coaches who have been incorrectly accused of something or during the process of case management?

A – We are in the process of developing an independent Coaches Association that will provide Coach Welfare and support coaches wellbeing. Amongst other services, it will provide advice on disciplinary and grievance procedures and signpost coaches to relevant support services for issues they may face in coaching and in life.

The aim of the association will be to make coaches feel:

– Safe in their coaching role.

– Supported in their coaching role.

– Happy in their coaching role.

– Connected within the coaching community.

Q17 – Will you be teaching coaches how to work with Coach Developers and vice versa?

A – We recognise the importance of having a good ‘match’ with coach and coach developer. There will be work done to prepare coaches for their supported practice and this will include relationship building with the Coach Developer.

Likewise, Coach Developers will undergo training so that they are skilled at supporting coaches through their situational learning. There will be a mechanism for coaches to communicate any difficulties they have in this area, and we will do our best to find the most appropriate coach developer for each coach.

Q18 – Will there be any pre-requisites before enrolling for any of the roles?

A – There will be an entry level for each of the roles. This is likely to be Club Coach with specific modules for the pathway that you are entering. The content will be differentiated for coaches working towards

Children’s Coach, Youth Coach, Performance Coach etc. We are also planning to develop a coaching self-assessment tool that will include the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for each role so that you can rate yourself against them and identify the modules that you will gain the most from and that will prepare you for assessment.

 

Recruitment of coaches for the Advisory Panels

We announced the composition of the discipline-specific advisory panels in February. The panels intend to obtain guidance and support from experts across the sport who will support the development of the event group areas across the UK.

The leads are:

Children’s – Scott Grace

Combined Events – Darren Ritchie

Endurance – Chris Jones*

Jumps – Darren Ritchie

Para – Sarah Benson

Sprints and Hurdles – Benke Blomkvist with support from Leon Baptiste

Throws – Nick Ridgeon

*The composition of the Endurance Advisory Panel will begin with a small group who will look at the overall strategy for Endurance below the World Class Programme. Over the coming months, the group will be widened with sub-groups to advise on the various disciplines on the World Class Programme.

Read more and find bios of panel members, HERE.

 

The Fell, Hill, Mountain and Trail Leader module (referred to here as Off-Road – Leader) is designed for those who have completed the standard LiRF and who now wish to lead groups safely on more challenging terrains and more remote areas.

The course is designed to prepare Leaders to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people aged 12+, and adults, of any ability, with a focus on typical fell and hill terrains. This will include leading on public paths marked on an Ordnance Survey ‘Explorer’ or ‘Landranger’ map (including those shown on open access land), and the published routes of licensed fell/hill races.

The course builds on LiRF, contextualizing the learning for an unpredictable environment, and covers preparing for, and managing, risk on different terrains in varying conditions. As well as keeping a group safe it will also cover the techniques of Off-Road running, including ascending, descending and coping with different terrains and conditions under foot.

This half day module has been developed in partnership with the Fell Runner’s Association and is being piloted throughout February (20th) and March (5th / 6th) in the Peak District, with the aim of fully launching in June. If you are interested in taking part in a pilot (at a reduced fee) and have a Leadership in Running Fitness or Coach in Running Fitness Qualification, or in tutoring on this new module and have the same qualifications plus a tutoring or teaching qualification, then please contact the coach education team here, stating your name and coach URN.

 

 

 

 

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