Coaching in the UK

Coaches key to a lasting legacy

Fri, 20 Jul 2012

In the week when official figures confirm an increase in sports participation, sports coach UK says that having the right coaches in the right places at the right time is the key to meeting the surge in interest inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The National Coaching Agency has been working with sports for several years in anticipation of this summer, supporting them in workforce planning to recruit, develop and employ coaches effectively. This support has linked academic research with practical implementation across a wide range of sports and in all the Home Countries.

Speaking at the ICSEMIS Conference in Glasgow, sports coach UK Executive Director John Driscoll said: “Coaches will play an important role in the Olympic participation legacy. If you are inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics but then receive poor coaching at a club or school it could seriously dent your enthusiasm. That is why our work with sports is so important.

“The latest participation figures from DCMS and Sport England confirm that the expected surge in interest in sport prompted by the Olympics and Paralympics has begun, with 500,000 more people participating regularly in the last six months, and a total of 1.3 million more since London won the 2012 bid. Thanks to detailed research for the Department of Health by Professor Mike Weed and his team at Canterbury Christ Church University, we know that there’ll be no “rising from the armchair” by inactive people, but the Games will have an effect on three specific groups – young people, adult “returners” who have previously enjoyed sport and existing sporting types who may be encouraged to play more or try different sports.

“To prepare for this surge in interest, we’ve been working with all the major Governing Bodies of Sport, helping them to map their player pathways and really identify the needs of each participant group. In turn, that has allowed the sports to plan their workforce needs in detail. In some cases, the NGBs have changed the whole structure of the sport and introduced new ways of playing the game to attract new players. Coaches are a vital element in sustaining this interest.

“Coaching traditionally relies on volunteers, volunteers who need training and development. The last 10 years have seen significant strides in coach education through the UKCC, which acts as a ‘kite mark’ and continuous development tool for coach education programmes in 30 sports. Each year, around 60,000 coaches qualify. Sports such as cycling, athletics, netball, basketball, and future Olympic sport golf - to name just a few - have all embraced workforce planning and coach education, helping to put them in a good position to meet the London 2012 participation legacy.

“The pre-Olympic Congress in Glasgow gives us the chance to share our experience from the past few years with sports federations from across the world, another aspect of the undertakings for a sustainable legacy made when London won the 2012 bid.”

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