Review of Coach, Official & Scholarship Scheme

Annually we conduct a review of the scheme’s impact on sports delivery.  It is after all your money and we have to make sure that public funding promises best value. So, how do we ensure, pound for pound, that we’re maximising coach delivery?

You may have read on our websites that we’re in the process of making changes to our Coach, Official and Volunteer Scholarship Scheme.  Last year the scheme supported more than 200 locally-based coaches from 29 sports, ranging from Archery to Wheelchair Basketball and from all areas of the county and the Isle of Wight.

Below we have summarised the impact the scheme has had in various different areas:

Coaching Workforce model

Above shows a coaching workforce model that we use which is not dissimilar to traditional participation models; the bottom of the triangle contains a high number of unqualified/qualified leaders and UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) Level 1 assistant coaches and equivalents; the middle of the triangle we have qualified head coaches and club coaches (including Level 2 and Level 3/equivalents); followed by smaller numbers of performance and elite coaches at the very top.  Therefore this shows the areas most in need of investment.

The Case for investing in Level 1 Coaches
So, how then do we support the valuable contribution made by coaches wishing to gain the first rung on the coaching ladder?  Well there are things that can be done and below are some suggestions.

Firstly, people who want to get into coaching must make some financial contribution to undertaking coaching awards.  Traditionally we’ve tried to make courses as cheap as possible, sometimes even free for apprentice coaches.  The consequence of this approach is that sometimes a coach award has limited perceived value.  Its much easier to opt out of something that requires limited personal investment (not withstanding personal time) than something they have invested in out of choice.

Clubs & County Associations need to consider Training and Development as a core cost of sports delivery.  In the same we consider facility costs, travel, equipment umpire and official fees etc when calculating our annual subscriptions, we must also include an element to support the ongoing development of our future coaches and volunteers.

National Governing Bodies (NGBs) need to review the current logic behind pricing and structure for UKCC and equivalent courses.  The aim of UKCC was to:

•    set a benchmark for coaches across sports
•    modernise coaching practice
•    professionalising coaching

These measures were aimed at improving the experiences of people in sport at all levels.  However, early signs suggest that the impact of the UKCC is far from equitable across sports, has significantly increased costs of courses and in many cases is discouraging a large number of coaches from undertaking professional development, due to both time and expense.  NGBs must consider ways in which to reduce costs and time constraints for entry level courses into coaching, if they hope to continue attracting new people into coaching.

The good news is that Schools, Further Education and Higher Education are making significant contributions to developing pathways into coaching for young people.  Programmes like the Youth Sport Trusts Leadership Academies and Step Into Sport are preparing young people to support community volunteering and leadership.  These young leaders are being given a range of coaching and officiating skills and then exposed to opportunities where they can practice their skills in school and in the community.

In Hampshire the University of Portsmouth and Southampton Solent University are both recognised centres for 1st4Sport, the awarding body for all UKCC qualifications.  Both institutions proactively encourage their students to undertake coaching awards and then to use these skills to support local sports development.  These institutions make a considerable contribution the coaching and volunteer workforce in the county.  Nevertheless, there’s still work to be done to ensure that the number of coaches, officials and volunteers created by these programmes are utilised effectively by governing bodies, school and community sport.

The Case for Investing in Level 2 & 3 Coaches
For the last few years Sport Hampshire & IOW have supported Level 1 coaches.  Last year alone roughly 40% of our coaching scholarships went to support Level 1 coaches, with a further 40% going to support Level 2 and Level 3 coaches.

Whilst there are exceptions to every rule on the whole every Level 2 and Level 3 coach immediately becomes able to coach independently.  Historically we’ve always focussed on supporting coaches who are going to make an immediate impact on sports delivery and Level 2 and 3 coaches can do so in a variety of ways.  Club Coaches often act as mentors, assisting less experienced coaches to develop their practice through non-formal and semi-formal CPD.  Finally Club, Performance and Elite Coaches can, once qualified, become coach educators, tutors and assessors, assisting less qualified coaches through formal coach education.  By supporting these levels of coaches we not only increase the number of independent coaching hours, but we also create the infrastructure to develop and support more coaches in the future.

Summary conclusions
Consequently it could be argued that traditional coach development planning can result in a cycle of diminishing returns.  Whilst the expertise of coaching practitioners increases, the number of active coaches decreases.  Therefore, whilst newly qualified coaches remain in demand they do not necessarily equate to an increase in independent coaching hours.

The Current  trend of spending lots of money on Level 1 coaches without refining our strategies for identifying coaching potential and talent is unsustainable.  On this basis Levels 1 coaches are simply less ‘value for money’ than Level 2 or Level 3 coaches.  This statement is not meant to be divisive.  We are not suggesting that we place less value on Level 1 coaches.  We will continue to work with all stakeholders to create a sustainable coaching infrastructure to support sport in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Coaching Hampshire & IOW will support NGBs, clubs, schools, colleges and universities to assist community sport in creating pathways into coaching and volunteering.  Money alone will not resolve the challenges ahead.  Coaching Development requires a more systematic and joined-up approach to ensure we create an effective coaching structure that works across sports and across the county.

In the short term this means that Sport Hampshire & IOW intend to invest our scholarship funding on increasing the number of independent coaching hours , thus improving our capacity to support coach development through non-formal, informal and formal coach education and CPD.  Our scholarship parameters will be reviewed annually, ensuring that it meets the needs of the coaching workforce, participants and sporting community as a whole.

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please add your comment below or contact Coaching Hampshire & IOW at info@coachinghampshireiow.co.uk.

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Posted on 14/08/2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. punctilious post. due one decimal where I quarrel with it. I am emailing you in detail.

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