This article forms part of a series of reports which accompany the 2020-21 BF Annual Report.
Coaching and Workforce
As in-person education and development opportunities could not take place, we adapted our delivery to provide alternative methods for those wishing to continue developing their skillsets, whilst also supporting them to meet minimum registration standards in preparation for the restart of fencing activities.
New provisions of online education, training and resources were developed.
June 2020: the BF Online Renewal Safeguarding and Protecting Children Course (Fencing Specific) was launched. Between June 2020 to March 2021, 76 candidates have completed completing course. The course continues to be offered for those refreshing their safeguarding training.
September 2020: BF launched Explore Fencing, BF’s CPD course suitable for teachers who are interested in exploring and introducing the fun of fencing to their school, to date 45 teachers have undertaken this introduction course.
November 2020: BF launched the first blended learning Core Coach course, with a mixture of online content and a shorter face to face component, allowing large activity providers to define their training timescales and prepare for the face-to-face training day with a BF Coach Developer. By the end of March 2021, 38 activity provider staff had completed the course.
March 2021: the online version of BF’s Introduction to Coaching Fencing (ITCF) was made available to the Athlete Development Programme (ADP) fencers as part of the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE). 14 fencers have completed the online training, with a number completing the practical assessment.
Short bite-size online courses were created and run with the personal coaches, using some of the above content and designing additional elements. These courses included Culture and Values, The GB Style, and Goal Setting.
As part of the #Fit2Fence initiative content was created relating to field-based fitness testing, performance analysis and nutrition.
Our work with Sport England, UK Coaching and The True Athlete Project continued to provide coach development opportunities:
Sport England – BF participated in the Cultural Architect Programme, a transformational leadership programme focusing on high performing leaders within the talent pathway. Workshops included Inspirational leadership, Candour and Emotional Intelligence.
UK Coaching – Following Ian Lichfield’s involvement in the previous cohort, Alex Beardmore joined the UK Coaching Performance Foundations support programme.
Further workshops led by industry experts such as Peter Moores (former England Cricket Coach), Nick Winkelman (Head of Athletic Performance & Science Irish Rugby) and Oliver Logan (Biomechanics and Race Analysis, British Swimming) were attended by several BF Coaches.
The True Athlete Project ran a number of short workshops for coaches with 23 coaches and staff attending, the workshops were:
• Harnessing the Power of Athlete Identity and Values – for coaches keen to understand how an athlete’s sense of identity can affect their long-term sporting ambitions.
• Compassionate Communication – In moments of uncertainty, instability, or conflict, Compassionate Communication provides a clear and powerful framework for grounding us and clarifying our needs.
• Love and Compassion for Performance Sport – why competitive sport is perfectly suited for developing the value of compassion, both for oneself and for others.
A longer programme, In the Zone: Mindfulness for Athletes & Coaches was delivered over 6 weeks. 7 coaches learned how mindfulness can strengthen our ability to handle high-stress situations.
March 2021: BF welcomed world-class FIE referees Ambre Civiero, Vasil Milenchev and Isacco Scomparin, who each ran a weapon-specific session for the participants, with in-depth video analysis of top-level Senior international fencing.
Member of the FIE Refereeing Commission, Claus Janka, finished the events with his insight on the interpersonal skills that a referee needs, and the relationships they must cultivate.
En Guard, Ready?, and Time to Listen welfare officer courses were run as an online classroom. Ten events were delivered with 95 places utilised. These courses will continue to run in 2021-22.
The work with the ADP fencers highlighted some future training needs for coaches and staff. One key course that will be created is around welfare and wellbeing. Listening, Questioning and Responding is a course designed to help and prepare coaches to respond and signpost a person who has disclosed a personal concern. This course will be tested in 2021-22.
Read the full 2020-21 Directors’ Report here.
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