I want to get into coaching in Wales. How should I start?
Firstly, it's great that you're interested in starting coaching and giving something back to the sport! Welsh Fencing will try and offer you all the support you need to make the transition from student to teacher. It's important to remember that taking up coaching doesn't mean you have to stop fencing yourself - Indeed, staying in touch with the competitive side of the sport in an important part of being a good coach to your students.
The first thing you'll need to do is find a coach mentor, assuming your already based in a Welsh club, approach the lead coach and explain your interest. They will be the one who knows you best and will be able to offer advice, guidance, and instruction. If you don't have a club, you can find a list of mentors who may be able to help here. Remember you must be under the supervision of a level 2 or higher to practice coaching in the UK.
Once you've had a go at your own club you can start attending the regular coaching seminars run by Welsh Fencing. These happen across the country and you can find details of upcoming sessions on the Welsh Fencing calendar. These will help you prepare for your initial ITCF (introduction to coaching fencing) course, and expose you to new ideas and teaching methods.
Remember, the key to improving is lots of practice and good feedback.
I'm qualified under the old system, will my award still be valid?
Yes. The new coaching framework does not invalidate qualifications gained under the old BF, or BAF systems. You are, of course, welcome to attend the new course though to help your own development.
I'm a level 1 coach, can I coach a club on my own?
No. All level 1 awards, whether gained through BF, WF, or BAF are only intended as assistant coaching qualifications. This means you need to coach under the observation/guidance of a level 2+ coach, and so should not coach in a club independently (except with Go-Fence plastic kit).
We know that this is an issue for a number of clubs in Wales, so have arranged for a transition period for everyone to become compliant. Clubs have until July 2018 to ensure their coaches are of an appropriate level and have received the required first aid/child protection training, plus DBS checks. During this times Welsh Fencing is committed to supporting clubs to make these changes. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you require any help.
I'm already a qualified coach, what should I do?
Welsh Fencing values the wealth or experience and knowledge in our current coaching workforce. We'd like you to not only use your skills in your own club, but also to help contribute to the region as a whole! Are you happy to become a coach mentor for your area? Can you run sessions at coaching seminars or development sessions? Can you encourage some of your own students to become coaches? Please get in touch and get involved!
We're also keen to make sure our qualified coaches have on-going development opportunities. We know you want to be the best coach you can be for your students and we are here to support you to do this. This could be through linking up with a local mentor you feel can help you individually (list here), or attending seminars and working with our team of coach educators. We would also encourage you to attend training outside of Wales/the UK. Whatever route/s you select, we are here to help you. Contact us, or talk to a member of the coach education team.