Written by Lee Booth, CSP Network, Partnership Manager
It is hard to believe we are one year on from CSP’s being tasked with testing the principles of the new Sport England Coaching Plan for England. It only seems like yesterday that Coaching Leads attended CSP roadshows across the country, but so much has been achieved in the 12 months since.
CSP’s were tasked with testing the principles of a Plan that was yet to be officially launched – a unique and challenging task, with CSP’s granted the freedom to try new approaches to engage new audiences. CSP’S were asked to engage with partners in order to deliver against four service areas. Partners that have been engaged have been multiple on both a national and a local scale. Key partners over the last twelve months that have helped to drive this work forward are too many to mention but have included sports coach UK, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Street Games, Women in Sport, Sporting Equals, EfDS and NHS Health Trusts.
The expertise of these partners has been crucial over the last twelve months, whether the role has been access to valuable insight, delivery of training, or sharing expertise. Without these partnerships being formed, delivery over the four service areas could not have been achieved. The service areas that CSP’S were tasked with working with partners to deliver against were:
1) Facilitate a targeted cross-sport talent development coaching network for NGB’s and other key delivery partners
2) Using local insight, identify two projects with an appropriate local delivery partner to recruit and develop frontline coaches to provide meaningful activity experiences to under-represented groups in the local community
3) Ensure that the design principles of the Coaching Plan for England are applied to all Sport England programmes which the CSP has co-ordinating responsibility for.
4) Implementation of at least one national coaching campaign in your patch
Learning was the key message. This was a time to test new ideas and learn from our failures as much as our successes. This culminated in a CSP ‘Learning and Sharing’ event in Birmingham at the end of March that enabled CSP’s to share their learning in an open and honest forum and showed just how far we have come. The event shared the best practice in how we have effectively engaged with non traditional audiences and partners, but also the bumps in the road that we have faced along this journey.
Stuart Armstrong, Head of Coaching at Sport England, has driven the development of and the launch of the Coaching Plan for England and commented on the role that CSP’s have played, "The work of CSPs to develop a more diverse coaching workforce and support coaches locally to enhance the experience of their participants has been highly influential in the design of the coaching plan for England. The insight we are gathering from the projects has been essential in illustrating the challenge of working with people in from non traditional backgrounds and supporting them to provide a great experience for others. The working is also informing the areas of focus in the forthcoming years and the challenges in finding an appropriate evaluation methodology"
Stuart raises the point about shaping the work for the forthcoming years and this is where the new challenge lies. How are we going to use what we have learnt to continue to influence the experience of the coach and the participant in a dynamic, effective way? What will the role of the CSP be over the coming years in influencing this experience? Now is the time for CSP’s to be ready and willing to be flexible in any shifts in focus and ways of working, not only for Coaching but of course across the CSP as a whole.
Jenny Buckham-Hedges, Head of Coaching Network at sports coach UK, reflects Stuart’s thoughts, “We know that coaching is key to great experiences and that coaching benefits society across a range of areas, not just honing sport skills. Coaching has a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing; and individual, social and economic development. There are many people out there who do not call themselves a coach but are coaching and ultimately contributing to what coaching is achieving.
Our work with CSP’s this year has given us insight into the breadth of individuals who have so much to offer in providing great experiences for groups and individuals who want to get more active, in the way that suits them best. The work of the CSP’s in delivering the principles of the Coaching Plan for England has highlighted the need for the right structures locally to identify and support the right workforce. These infrastructures are key to ensuring the right people within communities who want to inspire others to become active, are supported and developed. The CSP’s are best placed to work with local groups and forums to understand the challenges that need to be overcome if we are to encourage the right people to take up coaching roles. Sports Coach UK looks forward to continuing to work with the CSP Network.”
Jenny highlights the need for coaching and coaches to be reflective of the society we live in today in order to engage communities and the important role that CSP’s have played in the last 12 months. The challenge now is to continue and build on this momentum that we have built up to ensure that we continually develop and grow the principles of the Coaching Plan for England and our learning alongside this.
For more information on the Coaching Plan please contact Lee Booth firstname.lastname@example.org