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DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR UPDATE - DECEMBER 2015

14th December 2015

Coaching Development and ‘12 Tweets to Christmas’

On Sunday 13th December the British Fencing Development Team started their ‘12 Tweets to Christmas’ highlighting just a few of the good news stories from the last six months! Keep your eyes peeled for #12days2xmas.

The focus of this month’s update is coaching, highlighting the significant amount of work that has taken place on the review of our Coaching Development Framework (CDF). This update will be followed by a series of events in early 2016 for the Regions, the membership and our delivery partners to help bring to life the emerging CDF. Regular Coaching Development web updates will also feature in 2016.

Our strategy to grow our sport is based on delivering attractive and sustainable fencing experiences. To do that we must create a CDF that delivers a high quality and relevant coaching experience for every fencer that aligns with industry and education best practice.

Since the appointment of Steve Kemp, Coaching Development Manager, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of the current activities, programmes and resources.

We are also working with Sport England on their Coaching Plan for England helping to; a) shape the development of coaches, b) provide the workforce for non-traditional environments, and c) meet the change in participant (fencer) demands.

In summary, our new CDF must be capable of adapting to meet the changes in the needs and demands from people taking part in sport and physical activity, i.e. we need to better meet their expectations and motivations for choosing to fence. More than ever before, to be successful, sports need different coaches for different audiences. Across the sports industry, there is a far greater understanding of the impact of ‘soft skills’ and recognition that they are equally as important as the coaching process skills and technical and tactical information.  

Our new CDF will also better align the participant/athlete pathways with the coach pathway.

Our goal is to have a more defined coaching system, building on insight and ensuring coaches are capable of providing the right coaching experience to the participant/athlete. There will be a stronger focus on process and soft skills where both new and existing coaches will be supported to undertake personal development in this area. For a more visual and fun description of this, grab a mince pie and take five minutes to watch this clip from Sport England and SportCoach UK about ‘what makes your session unmissable’. A PDF guide to ‘what makes your session unmissable’ can be downloaded here.

Merry Christmas to everyone and keep your eyes peeled for the Development Teams’ ’12 Tweets to Christmas’ #12days2xmas, that kicked off on Sunday 13th December!

For further information on any of the above, contact Gabby Williams, Development Director, or Steve Kemp, Coaching Development Manager.

For more detail on the review, please read on.

A number of our coaches, officials and team managers have contributed towards the review of which have helped form recommendations for the new CDF to support the British Fencing 2024 strategic goals. These recommendations have been reviewed by the Board and the British Fencing Senior Leadership Team. The agreed operational priorities for the first three to six months of 2016 are (in no particular order):

1)    Align the coach pathway to the athlete pathway, working across the organisation with the Talent Manager and the World Class Coaches.

2)    Establish the British Fencing Coach Education Team, responsible for delivering to clubs and the community (to be aligned to industry standards for delivery and quality control).

3)    Create the workforce that has the skills and ‘know how’ to deliver a sustained coaching offer into the youth and university sectors (working with the British Fencing Development Team to meet Sport England participation targets).

4)    Create a workforce for British Fencing contracted activity providers e.g. holiday parks and leisure centres, that can deliver attractive and quality fencing experiences (to be aligned to leisure industry standards and regulations).

5)    Launch phase 1 of the British Fencing CDF, focussing on the entry point into coaching and the advanced coaching level.

6)    Undertake a feasibility assessment for an on-line training portal to support and track coaching development.

As a result of the review, British Fencing will no longer continue to maintain a Lead Tutor Group. The official role and title of Lead Tutor will no longer exist as we move to upskill our coach education workforce to meet and deliver to educational and industry standards.

The Lead Tutor role and workforce will be transitioned where appropriate into the British Fencing Coach Education Team. All Lead Tutors have been contacted directly by the Coaching Development Manager with further details on how this will be managed. This is an important step for our sport to take – as we grow our sport and work across the industry we need to ensure that those involved in our workforce understand and can deliver on the expectations implicit in the role of a coach, over and above the technical nature of our sport. Our senior Coach Educators play a vital role in ensuring Fencing Coaches meet current best practice.

The role of Lead Tutors in supporting Fencing Coach Education to date should not be underestimated. British Fencing would like to thank all the Lead Tutors for their dedication over the years and where appropriate look forward to working with many of them on their continual professional development.

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