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CSP Coaching Conference Day Two Round-up

After hearing key messages about the future direction of coaching at day one of ‘Making Coaching Everyone's Business’, day two started by continuing to challenge the delegates in their delivery of coaching activity.

Born Barikor, the CEO of Our Parks shared his personal journey with the audience and how he developed a programme of free activity in London parks. Programmes where coaches are recruited through social media, ‘auditioned’ and given regular support to deliver activity are key to everything that Our Parks aim to deliver. Social media is at the centre of the Our Parks philosophy – promoting and sharing activity and pictures via Twitter and Instagram and ensuring that their workforce is able to use social media effectively to engage their audiences. There are currently 20,000 users engaging with Our Parks activity and Born is looking to the future an hoping to grow the Our Parks programmes outside London.

Continuing the digital theme there was an opportunity to hear from Amanda Chambers (Nottingham City of Football) and Sian Foley (sports coach UK) about how Nottingham are embracing the latest technology. The target group for Nottingham is very much the digital natives and key to the delivery of messages is understanding how to use different social media channels; this has been at the centre of benchmarking and understanding the digital opportunity in the city. Through the insight work that Nottingham have completed, they have identified that there is enormous potential in finding ways to use YouTube as a social media channel rather than just a dumping ground for videos. Identifying the digital influencers in the city has enabled greater reach via social media while continuing to link to football. The approach that has been taken in Nottingham has enabled greater interaction that is leading to an evidenced increase in engagement. The key message was to understand your audience and plan your social media strategy for this audience rather than just ‘doing social media’ for the sake of it.

Looking at different ways of engaging an audience, Craig Blain (Active Cheshire) talked about identifying potential new partners. Adam Norris explained how Active Cheshire have worked with The Youth Federation to identify where the synergies existed that could add value and build the relationship rather offering a simple sport agenda. This was further brought to life through work with The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service where rather than just making assumptions they were able to drill down into specific issues and develop a suitable offer.

Coaches have an important role to play in attracting young people who like sport but have other interests, which is a key challenge with satellite club delivery explained Joanne Moss, Andrew Liney (Sport England) and Nicola White (sports coach UK).  We are trying to create sessions that are different and unmissable and coaches now have a wider role in engaging young people before, during and after sessions. The workshop identified the importance of changing the mindset of the coaches delivering sessions. This includes, making participant feels more confident, and using social media before the session and scheduling social media ‘breaks’ as part of a normal session. Understanding the customer journey and discovering new ways of delivering engaging content is becoming an essential skill for coaches.

This is also important for coaches who are part of the workforce delivering PE and school sport in primary schools, and this was the focus of the session delivered by David Turner (sports coach UK) and Craig Taylor (Black Country Consortium). Using the Coaching in Schools Web Portal to support coaches working in the primary school environment is just one method of ensuring the premium is being spent efficiently and in a sustainable manner. Understanding the offers, the workforce and the head teachers perception is underpinning the work that Craig has been lead in the Black Country. As the funding continues to be available, it's important to consider that in some instances this is becoming a lucrative business for some providers so ensuring that coaches have the expertise to deliver in this environment should be a consideration.

Lyndsey Barrett, an occupational therapist from the NHS a started the afternoon session with her own inspirational story of her personal journey through sport and occupational therapy, where a key factor in her own rehabilitation was her coach. Lyndsey is now involved in a project called ‘Sport In Confidence’ and spoke about some of the different skills that coaches require within the project. The connection between the health professionals and the local leisure providers has been a key factor in the success of the programme. Consistency has been key in the deployment of the coaches into the sessions, and the range of activities has grown, with clear progression and skill development being a clear outcome. Lyndsey shared a number of case studies to look at how here intervention in supporting the coach help to achieve success. In particular, working with young people with Asperger Syndrome and matching their goals to the sessions have helped to encourage sporting success. Providing opportunities for participants to develop friendships and social interaction underpins the work that Lyndsey and the coaching team deliver.

Recruiting new coaches was the driver for the Lancashire Coach Academy and Jayne Wilson (Lancashire Sport) has been working on this programme of training for pre-entry coaches. Working with 14-16 years olds as a way of addressing the drop out from sport, with a two year programme of training for the young coaches, Lancashire have been successful in moving the young coaches into the coaching pathway. In providing support for the coaches, the clubs involved have trained mentors to support the coaches to further reduce potential drop out. Lancashire Sport have also been looking at less traditional routes into coaching and Carol Ross spoke about the Challenge through Sport Initiative. CSI as it's known locally, is a programme to work with people in recovery that was developed with the police, probation services and public health to deliver regular sport and physical activity activities. The ‘coaches’ for this programme are support workers who have been through a wide range of development opportunities to enable them to provide activities and support to those attending the initiative.

In summarising the key messages from the event, Jenny Buckham-Hedges (sports coach UK) challenged the audience to think about the future. We have a clear direction with the Coaching Plan for England and we're lucky that within the England Coaching Network that we are already beginning to work with emerging markets. The coach of tomorrow may be different from what we know and coaching may look different in the future, but it's down to us to make coaching everyone's business.

Steve Bentall is the London Coaching Network Manager for sports coach UK


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