Sports Coaching - Safety and Responsibilities
There are millions of people participating in thousands of different sports across the country and one thing most of these sports lack is good qualified coaches. If you have taken part in a particular sport and are now unable to because of injury or other reasons, you could still participate and pass on some of your knowledge by getting involved in sports coaching.
The most important quality that any coach needs is enthusiasm, you need to care about your sport and be able to transmit that enthusiasm and enjoyment to the people you coach. A coach has many different roles to play, they need to be able to communicate effectively, have patience, encourage, have good motivational skills, inspire, diplomacy, have good organisational skills, persevere, and have physical stamina.
Coaches are very often looked upon as role models, especially in children's sport coaching, so you need to maintain discipline and maintain high standards when it comes to safety aspects of sports coaching..
It will take you a number of years to build your sport coaching skills and to gain recognition as a good coach. Depending on the sport you choose to coach, coaching may take place in a gym, swimming pool, an athletics track, or in a playing field, sometimes in very poor weather conditions. Most coaches work unsociable hours as most competitions and training takes place outside the normal working week, so you need to be dedicated.
Coaching RelationshipsThe coach must have a good relationship with the performers, but must be able to distinguish the boundaries between friendship and a working relationship. They must treat everyone as equal, no matter their colour, age, gender or ability. Friendly words or actions towards certain individuals can be misinterpreted where young athletes are concerned, especially in a group. Others may think you are giving preferential treatment and jealousy, distrust or dislike may lead to allegations of improper conduct.
A good sports coach is primarily interested in the safety aspects of coaching and the well-being, protection and development of anyone in his care. No two people are the same, so there has to be an assessment and balance in the rate of development of performance, social, emotional and physical needs of the individual.
The relationship between coach and performer relies heavily on trust. Where physical contact between coach and performer is a necessary part of the coaching process, coaches must ensure that no action on their part could be misconstrued and that any National Governing Body (NGB) guidelines are followed.
ResponsibilitiesA sports coach is responsible for the environment and facilities where any coaching sessions take place. Any potential hazards and safety aspects of coaching like first aid or fire exits and fire drills should be identified and the participants made aware of what action to take to ensure a safe environment.
If coaching indoors items like radiators and windows should be covered or padded to prevent accidents. Any equipment or apparatus you are going to use should be checked to make sure it is not damaged and is in good condition.
Outdoor coaching may mean checking the area for dog dirt, glass or any other debris that could cause injury to a participant. The area should be clear from all hazards before coaching takes place. You should always take the weather into consideration when coaching outdoors. Some drills or practices may not be safe in wet conditions so you must review this when planning your coaching sessions.
You should also be aware that a coach may have to do a lot of administrative work. Booking of facilities, training schedules, organising travel to competitions, entering athletes into competition, liasing with other groups or coaches may all have to be done by the coach.
To become a qualified coach in your chosen sport you will need to take the relevant coaching qualifications offered by the governing body of your sport. You can apply to become an Assistant coach as young as 16 in some sports with qualifications available for you to progress to a full coach.