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Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby fangio » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:20 pm

Yes Geoff there are paid coaches who have to go out and do the work in schools etc, during work hours without having the atheltes join their group. Yes there are full time coaches who coach some fo our best athletes, who are training full time. In between are those who can choose their own hours, do not have to go to schools in work time, etc.

I really don't see the issue they are differet roles, and the middle one is the one which is filled by volunteers as they get to choose what they do, they are no fulfilling a specific role.

As to teh "other board" of course the ABAC fact file says that there is decline, I woudl nto expect the mt o publish it if it didn't. However the flaws are simple. The database used is TOPS, which is no longer the central database, hence why incomplete resutls are submitted to it, such as (random example I picked form 5th June) the YAL NE1 results. TOPS have 16 results over their standards noted, a quick look at Power of 10 shoes an extra 31 performances over the TOPS standards that TOPS don't have on their database. I would suggest that the change from Mr Whittinghams database being the offical one for 2008 to an unofficial one for 2011 means he is missing performances, causing (in a purely mathematical basis) bias in the results.

Same withte "dwingling" number of athletes, the fact files were obviously flawed, and of course did not give any comparative data from which to draw the conclusion that athlete numbers are dwindling, of course that has never stopped ABAC from drawing (or more accurately completely fabricating) the conclusions.

As to my own club, we have more coaches than previously, maybe because WE value the coaches as a CLUB. They coach our athletes it is up to us, and their athletes to value them, no one else. WE are the ones who benefit from them.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby hank » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:21 pm

I agree that we can't talk about coaching structure without talking about the role of clubs.

I know a big NGB push in my local area is for clubs identify their own head coach. They are after a system where athletes are past from coach to coach within the club as they progress. As I understand it, it is the head coach who coordinates this. No doubt the intention is that if they reach a certain level then it is coordinated that they move to a hipac type environment.

In this model it is the club that should be making the coaches feel valued, as Fangio says.

I am not sure the system is realistic however. I am not sure that it will support technical event development. Not sure that clubs will receive the necessary support to make the system work.

I work in a club where coaches pass me athletes. There are only a handful of coaches around that I would support these athletes moving onto however. These coaches I have worked with and have a relationship with, and a respect for.

Relationship building is the key, regardless of the exact model. But how do you achieve this within clubs, and between clubs and hipacs, paid and unpaid.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Geoff » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:26 am

fangio wrote:Yes Geoff there are paid coaches who have to go out and do the work in schools etc, during work hours without having the atheltes join their group. Yes there are full time coaches who coach some fo our best athletes, who are training full time. In between are those who can choose their own hours, do not have to go to schools in work time, etc.

I really don't see the issue they are differet roles, and the middle one is the one which is filled by volunteers as they get to choose what they do, they are no fulfilling a specific role.

As to teh "other board" of course the ABAC fact file says that there is decline, I woudl nto expect the mt o publish it if it didn't. However the flaws are simple. The database used is TOPS, which is no longer the central database, hence why incomplete resutls are submitted to it, such as (random example I picked form 5th June) the YAL NE1 results. TOPS have 16 results over their standards noted, a quick look at Power of 10 shoes an extra 31 performances over the TOPS standards that TOPS don't have on their database. I would suggest that the change from Mr Whittinghams database being the offical one for 2008 to an unofficial one for 2011 means he is missing performances, causing (in a purely mathematical basis) bias in the results.

Same withte "dwingling" number of athletes, the fact files were obviously flawed, and of course did not give any comparative data from which to draw the conclusion that athlete numbers are dwindling, of course that has never stopped ABAC from drawing (or more accurately completely fabricating) the conclusions.

As to my own club, we have more coaches than previously, maybe because WE value the coaches as a CLUB. They coach our athletes it is up to us, and their athletes to value them, no one else. WE are the ones who benefit from them.


Fangio, you may dispute the TOPS figures but from personal observation and anecdotal evidence I tend to agree with them. Plus I have never seen a UKA press release claiming increased participation figures in track & field or for active coaches. As they have a sizeable PR department I would have expected to see something to that effect if there was anyway it could be justified.

Regarding club coaching. Hank is right we have to address this but we all agree it is difficult. I maintain every town has the potential to develop young athletes across all events to current national standards but obviously that is not happening. The main reason is a lack of motivated and ambitious coaches with the necessary skills to develop young male athletes to run,say, sub11s 100m, 1'52" 800m, 4m pole vault, 40m discus or young girls to sub 12s, 2'10", 3m50, or 40m. We should be aiming for results like this even if the reality is it is difficult to achieve. It boils down mainly to having a good coach and support. There are many examples around the country where a good coach has produced outstanding results at local level.

So are we investing enough into local coaching? Can we do more? What is required to get more sprints, endurance, jumps and throws coaches into all track & field clubs? Are their (and I say this to be deliberately provocative!)alternatives to traditional clubs as providers of coaching at local level?

We need our governing bodies to open up as wide a debate as possible on coaching at all levels.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby fangio » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:58 am

I would agree that my town does indeed have the potential to have athetles at the standards you list, and if they want to come to the club the coaches are waiting to coach them, and if necessary refer them to other local training groups to help them progress. Why there seems to eb an impression that people not achieving these performances is down to the coaches not the raw material I do not know.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:31 pm

Apologies for not coming back to this discussion before now but nevertheless a number of the points I wanted to tease out have been made. Allow me to quickly layout a couple of things that look clear so far;

- While some people make it abundantly clear that they hold a particular reason for wanting to see changes to the current role, structure, funding and components of British athletics, everyone realises that these discussions need to be had in order to attempt to address those problems that certainly exist and in order to come up with post 2012 solutions when fundamental change will be unavoidable.
- Although some feel (for some unstated reason; I’d like to hear a reasoned one anytime anyone feels like making it) that those bodies through whom the funding flows should not dictate how the money gets spent, many realise that the reality of our lives is that the funder calls the tune and what avenues remain to us to influence the course of decisions only extend to marginal lobbying activity unless we’re willing to create alternative funding streams ourselves (and thereby have more influence over those streams obviously). Being blunt, if you don’t like the rescue services available on the coast, form the RNLI; don’t just follow a strategic path of demanding public funding streams to satisfy your own agendas.
- Some people are not convinced that the diverse requirements of different aspects of athletics are sufficiently appreciated or catered-for; this should be possible to identify more specifically in order to prompt solutions. ‘One-size-fits-all’ does not cope with the differences between track needs, field needs and multi-event needs in some opinions.
- Many are of the opinion that there exists a range of requirements for a healthy sport in the long term and they include attracting young people into the sport, engaging and accommodating young athletes in order to develop skills and all of this leads to elite levels of international competitiveness as well as adult sub-international sports participation. The various bodies and structures that exist to achieve these aims currently do not seem to do so harmoniously at the moment and hence draw criticism from some coaches here about poaching, as just one issue for example.
- As most people realise, a blank sheet of paper to redraw what is needed for the future is a figment of the imagination. Any suggestions or plans need to start from where we are now; failing to do so is naïve in the extreme.

Having said those things, it seems to me that a few pieces of work still need to be done.

1. How do we measure the success of the organisations or initiatives involved? From my experience this is crucial because only what gets measured gets sufficient focus. I’m not saying for a second that we should attempt to insert spurious metrics where they don’t help or we should fall into the trap of placing silly targets on everything that leads to ignorant behaviour just to satisfy these. No, but I am saying that we won’t make too much progress unless we agree what measures will be helpful. Is it ‘Number of medals at the Olympics/Worlds? Or is it wider to include some measure of ‘health’ as developed from the scale and world ranking of performances? Needs to be decided.
2. You coaches need to convince the rest of us that your unique contribution is decisive. Sorry to be blunt. I have no doubt it is important; I have no doubt it is sincere; I have no doubt it needs to be highly-valued in some way. But I fail to see how the be-all-and-end-all of British athletics issues revolves around you. I am willing to be convinced though so please try.
3. In order for the discussion to be more fact-based rather than opinion-based (it’s fun on many occasions and throws out a lot of light but discussions founded solely on opinions are too irrational to be useful in formulating important strategies I’ve found, we should aim higher), we need to all be talking about the same things. We need to share and agree common information such as ‘How much money does X control per year to put into the sport and in what form is it available?’ ‘Are there precedents we can follow/ experience we can use to learn from in other sports or in other countries (after adjusting appropriately) that can help us?’ or ‘What expertise should we use to decide?’.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Geoff » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:40 pm

Allan, just to pick up on a few of your points.

Firstly in term sof measuring success it is obvious that Power of 10 can be used but few, if any, annual comparisons are ever published. Surely it's relatively straightforward to give annual numbers of athletes in each age group/event and plot each year's top 10/50/100? I thought the aim of Power of 10 was to drive up standards but we are never told if that is happening. These two indicators are probably the best way of measuring success at grassroots level with medals used at elite level. All I'v heard is a Sport England report stating how the number of joggers has increased which may help to recruit a few runners and help improve help but is not really a measure of our sport.

Secondly, and being very overly simplistic, we are unlikely to develop many pole vaulters unless we have pole vault coaches or hammer throwers without hammer coaches. It is appreciated that many factors contribute to developing athletes and coaching expertise alone will not work but in most aspects of our sport coaches are crucial. Good coaches take on more than coaching as they help to promote and develop their event(s), identify talent, liaise with schools, identify competitions, access funding for athletes etc. etc. Our governing bodies have repeatedly said we should invest in the coach as they potentially can develop hundreds of athletes.

Finally, with regards to funding I accept our main funding providers dictate how the majority of money can be spent but they can be persuaded from time to time to change their policies. Also there are many other sources of funding such as lottery grants, community development grants, local authority/education funding, internal fundraising, athletes fees and much more. The key is to join up the funding and have easier access to it plus know what we want to use it for.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:26 pm

Geoff wrote:Firstly in term sof measuring success it is obvious that Power of 10 can be used


Couldn't agree more. It's a terrific resource that can be and should be used better. Not the answer to everything but far better than many other sports have. We should develop it well in my opinion.

Geoff wrote:I accept our main funding providers dictate how the majority of money can be spent but they can be persuaded from time to time to change their policies. Also there are many other sources of funding such as lottery grants, community development grants, local authority/education funding, internal fundraising, athletes fees and much more. The key is to join up the funding and have easier access to it plus know what we want to use it for.


Again, couldn't agree more with your final point; diverse funding needs to be targetted more acutely to have more impact.

Does anyone have at least a tentative first draft list of the bodies and likely annual funds that we could reasonably tag as 'British Athletics'? That might come in useful later to assess whether any suggestions we make could in fact ne achievable.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Kermit » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:01 pm

As I have said before, a National Athletics Coaches Association will get funding from a variety of funding pots. The sooner the association is organised the quicker the education/training programme gets sanctioned and funded probably by Skills Active.

This (education/training programme) would require the coach or potential coach to be signed up to an appropriate college for 1 year. Their studies would be a combination of practical and theory with the aim of getting the equivalent of NVQ level 3. They do not have to go to the college but in order for funding to be assigned they would have to be registered at the said college. Both practical and theory can be done at a place of the students choice.

With regards to "measuring success" of the take up of people to athletics. The ConDems have told schools that this is no longer required, so it is impossible to know exactly how many children are involved in schools sports or what sports they are involved in.

Great help that is!
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby hank » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:39 pm

Regarding measurable data...

This weeks AW presents data showing that numbers involved with our clubs is down. This is obviously one factor that we should be looking to reverse.

You can also use the data on power of 10 to identify the number of athletes meeting certain performance benchmarks. I am sure this is done, but as Geoff says it is never published. This suggests that it does not tell a good story.

Using power of 10 you can also see what coaches are doing the business, and it is evident that in some events we only have a handful of effective current coaches.

Athlete engagement in key competitions is also an important measurable factor for me. Entry numbers at county champs, county xc leagues are probably the most relevant structures relevant to clubs, and numbers and standards are not analysed enough.

I would also like to know the number of athletes that meet certain standards are from outside the club system. I know quite a few that compete in the Essex schools never make it to a club, and some that do only ever compete for a club a couple of times, and never get any effective club based coaching. The expertise in many of our technical events is in the schools, and if this is true then this has implications to any coaching structure.

A number of my group have athletics as a second sport. They drop athletics when they go to sixth form or college, mainly because the sport has such a low profile in sixth form or British Colleges sport. These athletes are not ‘drop outs’, and we need to be able to distinguish between those that have given up sport, and those that have chosen other sports because what we are doing is coming second to another sport.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby fangio » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:05 am

Hank, why do you think the figures are negative?

If you measure 2011 against the same point in the previous Olympic cycle i.e. 2007 it is clear performances are up.

Against the 2011 PO10 target
For men there are 140 performances against 95, an increase of 47.4%(14 events up, 2 level, 4 down)
For the women 159 against 140, a 13.6% increase (11 up, 2 level, 7 down)
Overall that's 299 agaisnt 235 a 27.2% increase (14 up, 1 level, 5 down)

If you take it against the 2011 WC A standard.
Men 37 against 16, a 131.3% increase.(9up, 7 level, 4 down)
Women 45 against 26, a 73.1% increase (10 up, 8 level, 2 down)
Overall 82 against 42 a 95.2% increase (11 up, 9 level 0 down)

Using the B Standard
Men 69 against 32 a 115.6% increase (15 up, 2 level, 3 down)
Women 70 against 52 a 34.6% increase (12 up, 3 level, 5 down)
Overall 139 against 84 a 65.5% increase (15 up, 1 level, 4 down)

Are you really sure that the reason that Power of 10 stats against benchmarks are nto published is because the figures are poor? More likely they are not published because the choice of year to compare and choice of benchmark to use are arguable, and so any such figures woudl be seen as potentially potlitically motivated. Cwerainly teh arbitrary figures produced by organsiations such as ABAC are a political tool rather than an attemtp to accurately describe the sport. I woudl imagine UKA are attempting to avoid that.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:20 am

Thanks very much for the interesting information. It sounds like you have this idea pretty well formed.

Kermit wrote:As I have said before, a National Athletics Coaches Association will get funding from a variety of funding pots. The sooner the association is organised


Who needs to do that? Are you volunteering yourself? If not then who? If it is so desperately needed what is the holdup, please?

Kermit wrote:With regards to "measuring success" of the take up of people to athletics. The ConDems have told schools that this is no longer required, so it is impossible to know exactly how many children are involved in schools sports or what sports they are involved in.

Great help that is!


We've had a number of really useful and detailed suggestions about this facet of the discussion so it's easier to simply skip over comments like this that are intended to divert our energy down certain pathways. I did enjoy the irony of that last bit though!
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:27 am

fangio wrote:More likely they are not published because the choice of year to compare and choice of benchmark to use are arguable,


Then shouldn't they be published for the argument to be had and illumination to be shone on the issue?

fangio wrote:and so any such figures woudl be seen as potentially potlitically motivated. Cwerainly teh arbitrary figures produced by organsiations such as ABAC are a political tool rather than an attemtp to accurately describe the sport.


I'm not in a position to know whether this is true; could you or others convince us either way, please? Or is this a distraction?

fangio wrote:I woudl imagine UKA are attempting to avoid that.


But it seems counter productive to leave a hole in the dialogue that invites (as we've seen) speculation as to why no information is being published. Wouldn't it be seen as more healthy and transparent to have the discussion rather than avoid it?
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby BigGut » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:43 am

Mike WInch started a coaches association for athletics coaches. people didn't bother joining so it died.

It is all well and good copming up with these suggestions but when they have been tried and failed despite being tried by an eminently respected figure then are they really viable.

On the issues of clubs need ing to do things in a structured way and be part of a wider strategy, it will never happen in a co-ordinated way. Clubs are a collection of individuals and they can pretty much operate as they wish. You can't make them pay coaches. You can't force them to adopt any national strategic method of operation. You can only suggest it.

It is because of this freedom that we can never have a seemless pathway, there are too many diferent roles of a coach and too many diferent ways people want to work for it ever to be possible. I don't care who is in charge or what the money is whilst people have the freedom to run their clubs the way they wish then having a fully co-ordinated seemless structure will not happen.

If you want a national structure from the grass roots to the elite then you need to put a dictatorship in charge of the sport and ban any athletics clubs that do not adhere. Si that what people really want.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Kermit » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:19 am

AllanW wrote:
Kermit wrote:With regards to "measuring success" of the take up of people to athletics. The ConDems have told schools that this is no longer required, so it is impossible to know exactly how many children are involved in schools sports or what sports they are involved in.

Great help that is!


We've had a number of really useful and detailed suggestions about this facet of the discussion so it's easier to simply skip over comments like this that are intended to divert our energy down certain pathways. I did enjoy the irony of that last bit though!


Please read and look at the videos of last weeks Parliamentary debate and then tell me me if I was diverting energy down certain pathways

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/12/ ... ool-games/
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:50 am

Kermit wrote:Please read and look at the videos of last weeks Parliamentary debate and then tell me me if I was diverting energy down certain pathways

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/12/ ... ool-games/


Being less obtuse about the point I made would help you, I think, but being charitable I'll spell it out; using phrases like 'the ConDems' is not helpful to keeping people engaged in this discussion and is quite clearly an attempt to divert the discussion down political avenues. I may or may not support your views on the political and economic scene at the moment but they are certainly irrelevant in all but the most out-of-focus backdrop manner to the discussion many are attempting to have here.

If you have a more in-focus point to make about recent decisions to fail to collect school statistics then please make it. Non-cryptically and as sharp as you can, please, in order for us readers to fully grasp your meaning.

Thanks for the link to, what I presume without seeing it is, many hours of debate; I'll try to watch it some time. If you posted that link with the expectation that it supports your point, you may be frustrated; did you consider that I might take a wholly different message away from my viewing of it? I say that without having viewed it yet and more to alert you to the, no doubt heretical view as far as you're concerned, that other people may find it possible to view, hear or read material and not be instantly converted to your exact position. That seemed to me to be the stance you took in your post but please feel free to demonstrate you have a more nuanced understanding of the world outside your own head than that.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby sidelined » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:57 pm

AllanW wrote:
Kermit wrote:Please read and look at the videos of last weeks Parliamentary debate and then tell me me if I was diverting energy down certain pathways

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/12/ ... ool-games/


Being less obtuse about the point I made would help you, I think, but being charitable I'll spell it out; using phrases like 'the ConDems' is not helpful to keeping people engaged in this discussion and is quite clearly an attempt to divert the discussion down political avenues. I may or may not support your views on the political and economic scene at the moment but they are certainly irrelevant in all but the most out-of-focus backdrop manner to the discussion many are attempting to have here.

If you have a more in-focus point to make about recent decisions to fail to collect school statistics then please make it. Non-cryptically and as sharp as you can, please, in order for us readers to fully grasp your meaning.

Thanks for the link to, what I presume without seeing it is, many hours of debate; I'll try to watch it some time. If you posted that link with the expectation that it supports your point, you may be frustrated; did you consider that I might take a wholly different message away from my viewing of it? I say that without having viewed it yet and more to alert you to the, no doubt heretical view as far as you're concerned, that other people may find it possible to view, hear or read material and not be instantly converted to your exact position. That seemed to me to be the stance you took in your post but please feel free to demonstrate you have a more nuanced understanding of the world outside your own head than that.


AllanW - did it occur to YOU that trying to limit the debate and adopting such a hectoring tone might be counterproductive?
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby AllanW » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:51 pm

sidelined wrote:
AllanW - did it occur to YOU that trying to limit the debate and adopting such a hectoring tone might be counterproductive?


Yes. But the tone was deliberate and the attempt equally so.

I felt it was worth the risk by trying to limit diversions thus keeping the discussion as relevant as possible. In my reading of the threads that aim to be discursive and achieve noble aims, they fall into pedantic worthlessness most often because some people, either consciously or unconsciously, derail the discussion. Do you think the aim of trying to hold an adult discussion, free from derails is a worthwhile aim? One you could try to help rather than subvert?

I also felt it worthwhile in posting as I did to alert some of the more fecund posters that one of the reasons why more commenters do not participate is their egotistical attitude. You know, one of propriety over this board, of attempting to attack personalities and in a very personal manner any poster who they feel might be expressing a line or thought they don't approve fully of; ringing any bells with you? Have you noticed this behaviour on here before? I think it is harmful to a productive dialogue so if THAT kind of behaviour can be stifled I would see it as a benefit rather than some sort of fumdamental attack on personal freedoms. Of course, behaviour and posting that is not like that needs no further comment, does it? I for one would be more than happy never to have to refer to it again and get on with some more productive avenue of sharing and exploration. How about you?
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Geoff » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:20 pm

Going back to issues raised. Firstly we all know the saying about statistics! It does appear from data provided there is a downward trend in terms of performance and participation, although maybe a few signs of progess at senior level in recent years, plus fewer active coaches and probably fewer club members. This cannot all be atributed to coaching.

Secondly, UKA have now basically split athletics into two. Clubs are now charged with the rather onerous task of developing thousands of young athletes on a voluntary basis while universities and governing bodies employ coaches for older athletes. The age split of athletes is roughly 18. So pre-18 it is primarily down to volunteers and post-18 the professionals take over. In my opinion what you will end up with is a lack of performance coaches for the 15-18 years age group and less coaches working with seniors, particularly sub-elite. This, I guess, is one of the major fault lines in the current structure.

Thirdly, we seem to have major shortfalls in coaching at club/local level. Some appear to believe that clubs will not change and do as they want - they cannot be dictated to. I agree! The answer is to motivate and encourage them to do so. Taking on what appears to some to be a thankless task with little recognition from UKA who want talented athletes is not the way to do it. So how can clubs, who once had thriving senior ranks be encouraged to take on their new role? There has to be rewards for clubs and the volunteers contributing to the development of our sport.

I mentioned in an earlier post whether clubs are the best vehicle to deliver coaching. There is an assumption that this has to be so but there are alternatives. So to stimulate more debate and perhaps stir things up a little can I suggest the following alternatives?

1. Coaching becomes facility based.
2. Coaching becomes school based.
3. Groups of coaches set up academies and associations.

None of the above are new. Academies and associations are currently in existence. All can attract funding.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby hank » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:42 pm

I used to run a facility based coaching programme. It broke even, paying the coaches about £10 per hour. As the coaches were university athletes, the coaching was actually better quality than what the local club was offering (although they would probably disagree).

Where it fell down was when it came to competition. To pay coaches to spend a whole day or afternoon at a competition was not financially viable. We could not offer inter club competition, and the club was not keen to link up with us. In the end I binned it as I felt it was better to have athletes in a competitive club than in our programme, regardless of their shortcomings.

It can work, but the club needs to be driving it. Facilities tend to look to football or rugby to make facilities pay for themselves. There are few that understand athletics.

Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers are a club that run their own facilities, so in affect are a working model of what you are discussing. Lee Valley are effectively the same as their staff are all local club member.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Kermit » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:45 pm

What I was trying to highlight through my previous two posts was that gathering stats from the schools sports survey ceased at the change of government. The videos in the links also showed just how confusing the landscape actually is with regards to which department is responsible for sports and it's funding. If you are looking to coach 16 year old + then that belongs to the DCMS if you are looking to coach those younger than 16 then that belongs to the DfE.

Geoff you are right, the 3 points at the end of you last post are nothing new, they were a part of one of John Major's last parliamentary speeches as Prime Minister. Over the last 8 months I have been working/researching the public health reforms and I have found that if anything is going to get off the ground it has to be achieved at County level and not Borough. Points 1 & 2 can be better achieved at County level if point 3 was an association/company that had stakeholders willing to get involved. One of the stakeholders should be the County Council as they have the most available contacts.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby TheRealSub10 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:39 am

fangio wrote:As to my own club, we have more coaches than previously, maybe because WE value the coaches as a CLUB. They coach our athletes it is up to us, and their athletes to value them, no one else. WE are the ones who benefit from them.
This is a great post! We need to change British athletics ourselves through the work we do within our own clubs rather than waiting for some Saint to do it for us.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby JimK » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:07 pm

Just a couple of links that may be informative....

"The Invisible Resource"

http://www.theinsidetrack.org.uk/

"Bridging The Gap" England Athletics

http://www.englandathletics.org/news.as ... temid=7252
JimK
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby usedtoit33 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:34 am

Geoff wrote:Clubs are now charged with the rather onerous task of developing thousands of young athletes on a voluntary basis.

Sorry Geoff, but I have to take issue with this. This task is exactly what clubs have (or should have) been doing since they were formed. The life blood of clubs is competition and membership. In order to survive clubs have to attract talent and make the most of the talent they have in order to win trophies. Having successful athletes to boast of is good publicity for the clubs. For decades clubs have invested in developing athletes through the age groups all through the pre-professional era.

This is exactly what any sports club with any sense does and happens in all other sports.

Coaches are involved in clubs, schools, universities and at the professional level. The most important part of our sport is the athletes themselves. However athletes need skilled, knowledgeable and experienced coaches. Professional coaches are employed to do a particular job with particular groups - professional athletes, general education in schools, etc.

Why does anyone volunteer their time for any particular activity? Because they enjoy it, have a passion for it, want to learn skills/gain experience in an area and get satisfaction, reward of some nature and a sense of achievement out of doing it. An NGB can put guidelines in place for volunteers (and professionals), but it really is down to the organisation they're directly involved with as well as the coach him or herself to ensure that these reasons for volunteering are recognised and supported. This means the clubs, as that is where the majority of volunteer coaches are involved.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Geoff » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:56 am

Usedtoit, perhaps I should have inserted the word only so it reads 'Clubs are now charged with the rather onerous task of only developing thousands of young athletes on a voluntary basis.' And unlike many other sports volunteers are also charged with taking young athletes all the way to international level. Most clubs have virtually no senior athletes, something that is very different to ten or twenty years ago, and I believe will results in a big reduction of experienced coaches able to develop youngsters to international athletes on a voluntary basis.

I wouldn't mind betting a small amount that most local/regional performance coaches are not directly linked to any one club. Most coach athletes from a number of clubs and, again I wager, most are well over 50 with the numbers decreasing. Many do not charge and many support their athletes other than just through coaching. I suspect we have a few hundred of these old style coaches left around the country with fewer replacing them. Most of our coaches do a couple of sessions of basic coaching in a limited number of events to young athletes with many not continuing/progressing beyond the age of 15 or so. Unless we change something their will be a far reduced workforce of quality coaches developing athletes to post 18.

With regard to the article on parental influence. I remember seeing a survey of Olympic medallists where they were asked about what influenced them most. Top in many cases were parents/family follwed by the coach. Money was quite a way down. My experience of coaching is the older the athlete gets the less they rely on parents and more on the coach until they reach full adulthood and independence (and even then there are issues to help with). Boys rely less on parents than girls once they reach 16 or 17 and often the coach provides more support. How many coaches coaching talented athletes of this age assist financially, offer transport, waive petrol money, make sure entry forms are sent in etc? I think you will find quite a few. Personally I've had to deal with all sorts of problems with money, relationships, police. Many current coaches of older athletes will have had similar experiences. So coaches can in some cases be like an additional parent.

What I am trying to say is we risk losing these type of coaches who have provided far more than most people expect. Changes by UKA will almost certainly result in us losing coaches like this and make it more difficult to develop and retain the 15-18 age group. I'm not sure what all the answers are but surely it helps to bring out all the issues in a wide ranging debate, something our governing bodiies should be leading, so everyone is fully aware of what coaching is like and help to decide where it needs to change.

There are still a few 'Graham's' in the coaching world but not as many as we used to have (see JimK's link to insidetrack article).
Geoff
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby TheRealSub10 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:14 pm

What a great thread, some really good discussion.
Kermit wrote:This (education/training programme) would require the coach or potential coach to be signed up to an appropriate college for 1 year. Their studies would be a combination of practical and theory with the aim of getting the equivalent of NVQ level 3. They do not have to go to the college but in order for funding to be assigned they would have to be registered at the said college. Both practical and theory can be done at a place of the students choice.
Kermit, in relation to this idea you prepose. I assume you have some familiarity with the HE/FE section so can you tell me:

1. Why do you think this 1 year education programme is necessary?
2. Do you think coaches would actually have time to do it? Wouldn't they miss out on actual coaching time?
3. How much would it cost as most people I speak to think £350 or whatever it is for a Level 2 course is too much and most of the year long college courses i've looked at cost around £600-£1500
4. Who would actually write this material and deliver it?
TheRealSub10
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby Kermit » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:13 pm

Real

1. This is the model used by amongst others the health and fitness industry and is complete with NVQ qualification.
2. Yes the coaches would have time to do it without actually attending the college. It is home/work based learning, the practical assessment is done at the person's place of work (in the case of the coach, on the athletics track), the theory would be under exam conditions (normally multiple choice) and can be done in a quiet room at an athletics club.
3. Because the course is registered with a college and come complete with NVQ it would be subsidised by the DfE drastically reducing the cost (my last course cost me £0 a saving of £500).
4. Excellent question and the main reason for me wanting a National Athletics Coaches Association. The association in conjunction with the DfE would design the course. The designated level 4 coach would be employed by the college to oversee the course and the association would get 2 revenue streams as well as further funding from other stakeholders and grants (including Investors in People).

Two years ago my level 3 Health & Fitness qualification was assessed by EA as equal to their level 2, now my Advance Personal Trainer qualification (£0 through the college/NVQ system) places me at level 3.

I know I keep banging this drum, but can you now see with my response that the Association can do great things not just for coaches but clubs as well as their community. The Association could follow the lead of the UK Javelin Association, set the open agenda of the future of coaches and in conjunction with the DfE write The Coaches Education Programme

The modern grassroots of the sport can be achievable. The association need not be a political beast as some would want it or some envisage it.
Kermit
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby observer » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:22 pm

Firstly, I would suggest that until athletics coaching becomes a paid position and moves away from voluntary participation we cannot possibly expect a cohesive, joined up coaching system.

Most clubs struggle to develop a truly cohesive system internally so what real chance is there to manage something on a national level whilst everyone is wandering around playing the ace card - 'I do this for free, so dont tell me what to do/dont criticise etc... we all know what I am getting at here because we have either heard it or said it!

If the position was paid then structure could be implemented. Also, it might attract a higher level of experienced entrant and rely less on well intentioned parents taking up the coaching mantle.

Where does the money come from? - not national funding, you can park that idea. Athletics training admission is around £1.60 (SBH anyway) - on what other planet would that figure include the time of a coach for 1.5hrs. This is where the problem starts and how it is turned around is one of the hot topics that needs to be discussed more, because if by implementing a higher base cost would increase the cohesion, structure and overall quality of coaching through accountability on a national basis, then I would definitely argue that the athlete would pay.
observer
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby diskobolus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:34 pm

I couldn't agree more with Observer. My background was golf and my first experience of athletics was taking my son down to the local athletics track 2 years ago. I fully expected to find a coach who would teach my lad how to throw and in return i would pay them for their time, rather like a golf professional.

I would suggest moving toward some way of paying coaches, which would encourage younger people to get into coaching more, say as they graduate. In this way the whole coaching system would become more professional than it is now.

I dont have anything like the experience of many of the other contributors and accept that i may be shot down for this, but what is wrong with the way coaching is organised in the USA, where it is more accepted that you pay the coach.
diskobolus
 
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby trickstat » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:17 pm

I know it is the norm for coaches at swimming clubs to be paid and I suspect that is true in quite a few other sports.

I think one of the things stopping paid coaching in athletics becoming the norm is a kind of inertia. Athletics tends to be based around club sessions at a track. Those involved with the running of a club (some of them coaches themselves) are likely to be reluctant to propose/impose payment for coaches as athletes/parents will feel they are having to pay more for the same coaching as they had before. They also will worry that people will opt to go to another club not far away where the coaches are still unpaid or that those from less well-off families will drift away. There may also be a general reluctance to get involved with matters such as who gets paid, on what basis and how much.

I do feel that if everything was being set up from scratch though, that paying coaches would be the norm.
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Re: Lack of Trust in UK Coaching?

Postby hank » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:37 pm

Most of our top pole vault coaches charge for coaching, and tend to be facility based rather than associated with anyone club. Some are paid by the facility to coach there.

I agree with trickstat, regarding he reasons more coaches are not charging.

I would also observe that football and rugby would not dream of charging talented players, and are more inclined to pay/reward them in some regard rather than charge them.

I disagree with observer that generally club fees can’t cover hourly pay. £2.50 x 10 is £25. You could pay a student £10 per session. If a facility was to organise then they are making £15 gross profit, and likely increasing participation also. Ticking a lot of boxes, and attractive to certain funders...
hank
 
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