The first session I was booked in for was with Jon Pett from English Table Tennis, his presentation was titled “Managing changes in coach education” and whilst I was interested in this I decided to move and go to Wendy Patterson’s second presentation of the conference on the legacy of the Vancouver Olympics where she spoke about how they have implemented system change post Vancouver 2010. I was sure no-one would notice me change with so many people there but surely enough John Driscoll of SCUK caught me straight away. Fortunately he let me off as long as I kept it a secret 😉
The presentation was again very good from Wendy, although not as passionate as the day before, and she discussed how they have implemented an effective daily training environment across several sports. This is very interesting for me as I am involved with both Comberton Village College and Anglia Ruskin University on developing their sports systems and the daily training environment is key to this.
Wendy also discussed developing coaches and the complexities of ‘hand off’ where coaches need to pass their athletes into the new system, this is also something I am very interested in. There was also information from NI Sport on how they have worked with Wendy to implement some of these changes in Northern Ireland.
Session two was with Sarah Collings and Jon Woodward from sports coach UK on “engaging with UKCC level 4” and I found this session, which was more of a workshop very interesting. Sitting with people who are implementing UKCC level for across a variety of sports and the complexity (sometimes self imposed) of implementing this.
I am interested in UKCC level 4 and how this might evolve in comparison to the European Judo Union Level 4 and 5 coaching awards we run at Anglia Ruskin. I am convinced there will be some great content on these courses and some NGBs will have very different courses to others but I am also certain of the fact that the strength of our course is it cross-European function and no other sport seems to have looked at this. I feel these other sports will really miss out.
The third session of the day was with Warwick Andrews on the new system for Assessors and verifiers across education, this is causing chaos for the sport, the new system is far from economical and many NGBs have no idea what to do and how they can afford it. I am just glad I already have a PG Cert as this seems to cover it.
The last session of the day was a keynote by Eugene Young on ‘harnessing volunteers’. Eugene works for the Gaelic Athletic Association, which I didn’t really know a lot about but I now know it is huge! His presentation finish the conference well, it was very humorous and pitched well for the audience.
This does make me think of one thing that bothered me throughout the conference though. There were around 250 delegates and these people make serious policy decisions that can have a huge affect on our volunteers. I would like to know how many of them volunteer, not as one offs but weekly, in a club, with their own athletes. I am willing to bet very few. Some may have done it a while ago and now use the same excuse as many of the others – too busy, well so are most of our volunteers!
I think all policy makers in sport should have to volunteer in sports clubs so they can see first hand the impact (good and bad) on volunteers.
Anyway, that’s it until next year, so long Belfast and hello London! Overall a very enjoyable two days.