19/12/2016- Latest News


This update focuses on our BF Coaching Development Framework, reflecting on work undertaken in 2016 and setting out our aspirations for 2017. In 2016 BF created an industry standard Coaching Development Framework, resulting in a redesign of the Coach Education offer which is expected to be fully up and running by early 2017. This means BF will be in a position to offer an industry standard, high quality programme of coach education courses across England. All Home Nations will also have the opportunity to access the programme and BF is working with the Home Nations to align with and recognise existing UKCC standard qualifications.

In 2016 the BF Coaching Development Manager formally engaged and consulted with all England Fencing Regions and some Home Nations, travelling almost 33,000 miles around the UK!

There are four underlying principles to the BF Coaching Development Framework:

  1. Culture of Learning – This relates to the fencing community as a whole, to continually increase its knowledge of, competence and performance in our sport. The purpose is to make a step change in raising the standards of fencing coaching as a ‘conscious act’, e.g. ‘are you the coach you want to be’ or ’the coach your fencer needs’. It aims to help coaches identify what they don’t know and therefore receive training to development themselves in areas of need.
  2. Continuous Improvement – This is based on the principle that the best coaches are reflective practitioners and look for the next opportunity to learn and refine their coaching behavior. 
  3. Flexible Modules – The Framework importantly offers, a) recognition to people with prior coaching experience, and b) that knowledge on ‘how to coach’ is available in various formats and is delivered in a variety of ways, e.g. informal, semi formal and formal
  4. Coaches are valued – The Framework sets out to ensure that BF and the fencing community consistently recognises everyone on the Coaching pathway, regardless of where and who they coach.

Alignment to Industry Standard

BF has continuously consulted with Sport England on our progress in Coaching Development. This ensured that BF developed a robust framework that a) meets criteria set by national organisations such as Sport England, and b) flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of the coaching community.

BFs Coaching Development Framework is therefore aligned to Sport England’s Coaching Plan for England: Coaching in an Active Nation. Sport England’s Plan sets out how coaching is changing. New coaching roles are emerging in response to new participant needs. People with different backgrounds, reflecting the audience they are working with, are taking up these new coaching roles. The style of coaching often focusses less on specific technical moves, and more on the whole experience of the person learning. The Coaching Plan for England seeks to create more of these roles, making it easier for people to perform them whilst setting out clear actions to help coaches do the best they can for the participants they work with.

The plan was launched late November 2016 and more information can be found here.

BFs Coaching Development Framework – Summary of Activity 2016

A Leadership in Fencing course has been created, targeting young people in schools (14-18yrs). The purpose is to help young people develop their leadership skills and confidence using fencing as a medium to do so.

We have re-worked GoFence and FALA into a Core Coach course. This course enables new coaches to, a) manage a group session for beginners, b) deliver pre-prepared sessions using basic coach skills, c) correct basic fencing techniques, and d) understand the social environment of the sessions. The course contains various modules, some of which are mandatory and some that can be selected based on the type of environment (e.g. youth club, holiday camp) and swords being used (e.g. metal, plastic swords)

Our L1 & L2 courses have been re-worked, now including modernised pedagogy content, aligning to industry standards. These courses are now more appropriately called; L1 – Introduction to Coaching Fencing, and L2 – Coaching Fencing.

The L3 – Weapon Specific course, has been re-worked and tested, of which is targeted at weapon specific skills: this is more about fencing than coaching.

Based on the new BF Coaching Development Framework we have created a new Coach Developer training programme, and established a new Coach Developer Team. This Team (a mix of BF registered coaches and previously registered tutors) has undertaken a program to upskill their Coach Education skills and knowledge to align with our new industry standard model of education. Their purpose is to deliver our new Coach Development courses, adopting a ‘participant centred approach’.

We have established an Athlete to Coach Programme – supporting athletes with wider CPD/career opportunities, whilst also helping to grow our workforce.

Courses delivered in 2016

Since the launch of the Core Coach scheme in April 2016, 531 coaches have undertaken a course delivered directly by BF. Below is a summary of all courses delivered since Autumn 2015:

  • · 58 Core Coach courses to holiday parks & activity providers, Scout groups, universities and youth groups. 
  • · 3 Leadership in Fencing courses to schools.
  • · 6 Introduction to Coaching Fencing courses (UKCC L1 equivalent).  
  • · 5 Coaching Fencing courses (UKCC Level 2 equivalent)
  • · 1 Level 3 –  Weapon Specific course (not UKCC L3 equivalent).
  • · 2 Coach Developer sessions for licensed partners.

NB: These figures do not include the indirect delivery by licensed partners.

BFs Coaching Development Framework – Aspirations for 2017

Early 2017 BF will be sharing publicly the official BF Coaching Framework. This will provide clarity for aspiring and existing coaches to understand ‘where they are’ and ‘where they want to go’ on the coaching pathway.

The Coach Register will be improved to ensure is has clarity of purpose, i.e. improve validity and reliability for the fencing community as well as BF customers and clients. This exercise will involve BF having direct communication with Coaches on the register to ensure all coaches are aligned and qualified appropriately reflecting the changes made in our Coaching Development Framework. The reason for undertaking this exercise is to ensure coaches meet industry set minimum operating standards, e.g. NGB/BF approved, insured, skilled & knowledgeable, adopting a participant centred approach.

We will be introducing a new online learning portal for leaders and coaches alike to support them in their coaching journey, responding to the learning requirements of the Coaching Development Framework.

We will also be launching an Advanced Coaching Programme (UKCC L3 equivalent). This will allow coaches to specialise in community, development and/or performance coaching supported by a series of coach education seminars to support ongoing professional development.

Other aspirations include:

  • Testing the core coach course with targeted groups, e.g. teachers.
  • Testing a specific course for fencing coaches wishing to develop a greater understanding of wheelchair fencing.
  • Working with partners and wider organisations to strengthen the Coach Development offer and support our online portal of learning resources.

Critically for 2017 and beyond BF will be focusing on establishing a financially sustainable Coaching Development Programme that becomes less and less reliant on public funding as we move forward in to our new funding cycle 2017-21. Furthermore, our new Regional Liaison Officer will be acting as a critical link between the Regions & Clubs and BF to ensure the coaching needs of the regions are met.

For further information on the Coaching Development Framework contact Coaching Development Manager, Steve Kemp.

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