What do I know now?

Well I have looked through the books about coaching that I have and the further education books I am acquiring and created a Bibliography under Stuff I have read!

I started coaching in 2004 through Viking Kayak Club and started a coaching log book (see below) which I haven't added anything to since 2007, even though I have continued to coach to the present day. This includes not just canoe coaching but also archery, climbing & problem solving. Even at the beginning I have always been good at reflecting in terms of what did I do, how did it go, did I adapt to the skills of the students and so on. My notes do indeed show some of the thinking.

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At the start though I had no formal training in the coaching process so planning was definitely a quick affair or on the spot having been told what I needed to coach from a more senior coach. I have learnt over time that preparation is key to a session, although plenty of options or strands may be necessary to adapt the session for the particular group of learners and their needs.

As I continued through my own coaching experience and gained training through the coaching grades I learnt to use a number of techniques to assess progress of the learners. This is useful for my own gratification (ie my coaching has worked!) but can also be useful to demonstrate progress for students. These can take the form of formal assessments for example the British Canoe Union (BCU) 1 or 2 star paddlesport award, or by using techniques such as profiling. As a coach I am always looking for improvement, which during a longer session can be quite obvious. However I am well aware that until I see then next time I can never be sure whether learning has actually taken place.
The most exciting time of my coaching has taken place over two significant events.

1. Becoming a BCU Tutor in 2009 for the new UKCC coaching awards that the BCU put into place during 2007/08.

2. Completing the UKCC Level 3 core training and specific training for canoe in 2010.

UKCC l3 Training certificates
The former was a 2 day orientation about delivering multi-outcome sessions and an opportunity to share ideas about how to deliver the coaching process to the new coaches. I then decided that I needed to observe and help on as many courses as possible to gain understanding on what these new UKCC L1 & L2 coaches learn about coaching. It also helped me to put names/words to concepts that I had long used but not really considered.

The UKCC Level 3 training was an 11 day training course split into 7 days, 2 days canoe specific training and 2 days being mentored. Wow - the sports science theory that we were given was fantastic and some of it has completely changed the way I think about my own coaching practice and is also part of the reason why I want to do the PGCE.

Well I still haven't answered the question of what do I know now, but there is some indication of where I have been and how I have got to here!

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