Integrated approach to L2 paddlesport coach education.

I have just spent an enjoyable and intense weekend assessing eleven aspirant  L2 coaches. All of the candidates were on the same training course back in March of this year. The twelfth trainee will present for assessment early next year.

David Savage for the Eastern Region Development Team drew up the programme to support local Club coaches. Additional funding had been obtained from Living Sport. The course was advertised as training and assessment for an inclusive price with the dates set for both the four days training and an assessment weekend. A bursary of £50 per candidate was offered to those who presented in October with the pre-requisites for assessment.

The fact that the group where working towards a specific assessment date was a very useful focus during the training course lead by me with Ian Cave, a regional coach educator, as tutor.

For Club coach education this structure of training has worked well with very positive feedback from the candidates. They cite good support from each other (there were candidates from Huntingdon, Cambridge and Viking Canoe Clubs) and from the delivery team.

An additional evening meeting was added five weeks after the training finished to review the workbooks and check they were completed allowing the candidates to concentrate on their ‘supported practice’ / portfolio building over the summer paddling season.

The Clubs involved were visited prior to the assessment weekend to complete the rescue skills. A review of their workbooks and portfolios was also carried out. This left their assessment day to demonstrate practical coaching and boat skills with a group of students drawn from the Clubs. David Savage, who had not taken part in the training, was the second person involved in the assessments and acted as ‘the honest broker’ taking a fresh look to the candidates

The whole process worked as a developmental journey. The quality of the portfolios and the amount of coaching they evidenced was fantastic and showed enhancements in what the host Clubs were able to offer their members.

Ten of the eleven candidates have been recommended as L2 coaches, the other two will complete the journey in the next few months. This is a very strong outcome compared to a lot of Level 2 training courses and I would ask others to think of offering this kind of integrated approach to the L2 qualification, particularly for Club coach candidates.

Personally I have gained loads from seeing a group through the complete journey. I can now better evaluate what elements of the training course ‘stick’ and which may need a little re-thinking. It is almost as if I, as a course Director, am able to complete the plan, do, review cycle.

I know there was some concern amongst Coach Educators about the same person being involved in training and assessment at the forums this year when the change was mooted. I would say it is a very affirming experience and was, in this case, kept honest by bring in a another Coach Educator for the assessments who had not been involved in the training.

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