There is a mistaken belief that you can only learn new coaching skills from within your own sport. This viewpoint exists in many sports including Martial Arts.
Our senior coaches spend lot of time researching best practice in Sports Coaching and evaluating how we can implement those ideas within the club.
UK Coaching have written a blog on their website about Sensei Lindsey and Sifu Mandi’s trip to the UK Coaching Conference in Edinburgh. The full article can be accessed here.
Some of the highlights of the conference included the following points, which are have brought back and are including within our coach education and within our coaching itself.
Judy Murray, a renowned international level Tennis coach, taught a live session and explained what she was doing with the children she was coaching and the benefits of doing so.
Building up activities in stages. Judy asked children to bounce a balloon on their tennis racket three times and then pass it to the next person and then repeat, this was changed to 1, 2, 3 turn the racket over and then pass and then changed again to 1, 2, 3 turn around, turn the racket over and then pass. Thus increasing the difficulty of the skill acquisition. Where possible make include within activities a form of competition to engage partners, to help speed and decision making skills.
Catherine Baker led a session on emotional intelligence considering the affects of what we say and how it affects people, just like physical pain. One of the key points was learning to control impulses and the 4 second rule to allow time for consideration before acting on something. A couple of weeks post conference, we ran a week of considering what makes a healthy person.
Richard Cheetham, who is UK Coaching, Sports Coach Developer of the year gave insights into skill acquisition and how to build upon it, how much information can be retained by children. We took away some new ideas for games, including the use of balloons in training to facilitate good functional movement skills whilst practising their Martial Art.
Coaching, like the Martial Arts, is a skill, that takes practice and lots of time to become good at. You don’t become good as a coach by accident, it’s down to hard deliberate work over a period of time with constant learning and education as the journey continues. As a club we support our coaches in their continued professional development leading all the way from assistant coaching awards through to Level 2 and Level 3 NGB coaches through to Level 7 Masters Degree level coaching qualifications.