Giving something back and becoming a coach!
By Dave Rossetter – paddlesport instructor at Glenmore Lodge
This article is that start of a series exploring coaching within paddlesport. In later issues I will look at the different disciplines and provide input into the technical and tactical aspects. These will benefit coaches and paddlers with our understanding as well as give top tips to becoming a more solid and robust paddler / coach.
Here I am looking at the pathways that are open to becoming a coach and the choices that are available. This is your guide to helping you understand the current BCU coaching structure.
Click to view PDF
OK so you have seen the PDF of the current BCU coaching structure below – confused? Let’s see. The basis of the scheme is that there are many pathways depending on what you want to do. First off do you need to be a coach at all? For many people the leadership pathway is sufficient.
- Work your way through the Star awards with 3 Star being a good place to start to give you the required skills in the moderate water environment. You choose the discipline that you are interested in and away you go.
- This opens up the leadership route for 4 Star – which allows for leading paddlers in your discipline on moderate water. These courses are a minimum of two day training with a further consolidation period before a two day assessment. All the 4 Star leadership courses are a mix of practical with theory blended throughout. At assessment your personal skills in the environment and your ability to lead a group will be assessed.
- This finishes this pathway with the 5 Star – which allows you to lead paddlers in your discipline in advanced water. These courses are a minimum of two day training (although most are run over three days) with a further consolidation period before a two day assessment. All the 5 Star leadership courses are a mix of practical with theory blended throughout. At assessment your personal skills in the environment and your ability to lead a group will be assessed.
For many paddlers this is all they need and means that there are leaders out there to help in clubs/centres etc. with ensuring that they have a safe enjoyable trip. These leadership awards are a great opportunity to improve yours and others experience/skill and ensuring that paddlers have opportunities to get out in the more challenging environments.
The safety courses that are available while complementing the coaching and leadership awards are stand alone and are available for all paddlers. They all are training only courses to ensure that paddlers can gain the essential information for their craft of choice and the environment they paddle in.
- Foundation Safety & Rescue Training (FSRT)
A training course that it is suitable for all craft and takes place in sheltered water. This course has been designed for those at the early stages of their paddling and is suitable for whatever your craft including sit on tops / stand up paddle boards and the like. This is a one day practical programme.
- White Water Safety & Rescue (WWS&R)
For those that head out onto grade 2 (3) white water and need to be aware of the best way to avoid getting into trouble and then some key simple solutions to common white water rescue scenarios. This is a two day practical in boats programme.
- Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP)
A one day programme designed to give all those who head out into moderate tidal waters the ability to plan trips taking account of all the factors to do with tides. It is a classroom based course to give time and understanding of these key navigational skills.
- Advanced White Water Safety & Rescue (AWWS&R)
A two day training programme that takes the skills developed in WWS&R and moves them onto advanced white water. This course is practically based and is suitable for those that paddle on grade 4 water.
- Open Water Navigation & Tidal Planning (OWNTP)
A one day training course that expands on the skills from CNTP programme to include open water crossings. If you are heading out on advanced tidal conditions this course covers the skills to ensure that you stay on track of your planned open water crossing.
- Advanced Surf Safety & Rescue (ASS&R)
Ffor the surfers this one day course covers the essential skills for working in moderate to advanced surf conditions. The course is based out of the boat and on the beach to ensure that all have a greater understanding and skill to look after themselves and others in this environment.
For many accessing these awards or indeed looking to provide these ensures that as paddlers we are aware of our own abilities and those of our peers. Ensuring that all paddlers are self-sufficient and have essential safety skills to look after themselves and others can only benefit us all in the long term.
The coaching pathway follows the UKCC framework and as such is split into:
- Assistant coach – UKCC Level 1
This four day programme looks at how to introduce paddlers to any of the paddlesport craft. The course has a blend of practical on water sessions with classroom theory to support the new coaches in their understanding of coaching. There are assessment tasks done throughout the four days. Once qualified the Level 1 coaches can work towards assessing the 1 Star.
- Progressive coach – UKCC Level 2
The programme is split between training (four days) and an assessment (one day). Between training and assessment there are set assessment tasks to be completed along with gaining coaching experience prior to the final day assessment. At the end of the process the Level 2 coach is able to assess up to 2 Star and is able to develop paddlers over a series of sessions in multiple crafts.
- Annual coach – UKCC Level 3
At Level 3 coaches will specialise in their chosen disciplines and work with students for up to year. This means that the programme is longer but is split into manageable chunks. At the end of the process the coach has the ability to coach with long term students in moderate water and assess up to three star in their chosen discipline.
For some they don’t need to go onto the Level 3 programme and Level 2 is where they are happy with the coaching process knowledge. What they are after is the ticket that allows them to coach on more challenging environments. Therefore the Moderate & Advanced Water Endorsements are available.
Moderate Water Endorsement
This course brings together the 4 Star leadership award and the UKCC Level 2 to train and assess coaches on their ability to coach paddlers on moderate water for their chosen discipline.
Advanced Water Endorsement
This course brings together the 5 Star leadership award / UKCC Level 2 with moderate water endorsement to train and assess coaches on their ability to coach paddlers on advanced water for their chosen discipline.
These endorsements are excellent pathways into the Level 3 programme or for those looking to develop paddler’s skills in the new environment. Using the Level 2 coaching behaviours ensure that these endorsed coaches have the tools to develop paddlers over the longer term.
The final part is the Supporting modules. These are available for all coaches and cover some of the disciplines such as racing and slalom as well as dealing with other areas of the sport such as the physiological and/or psychological side. The foundation modules are three hours long while the intermediate modules are six hours. The discipline specific modules are one day.
There you have it the BCU coaching scheme. The scheme is built on options to ensure that paddlers can choose the appropriate discipline but also the level that they need to get to for where they want to operate.
Remember we are all coaches and as Yoda so finely put it – “Always pass on what you have learned,” our choice is which path to take?
Happy paddling and hope to see you on the water.
Dave is the full time paddlesport instructor at Glenmore Lodge – Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre. He has been involved in the development of the new awards and provides expert advice throughout the industry on all things to do with coaching, safety, leadership and personal paddling. He is passionate about all things paddling and specialises in white water kayak and open canoe where he will most often be found. He is supported in his paddling adventures and coaching by Pyranha Kayaks, Mad River Canoes and Palm Equipment.