Enhancing Clubs’ capacities to build a coaching workforce

Relevant to: All Head Coaches, Club leaders and coaches at all levels of accreditation.

We know that coaches learn a great deal ‘on the job’ in their own gym. A dominant message coming from Clubs is a shortage of experienced coaching staff, both quality and quantity. Taking these factors into consideration, Gymnastics Australia partnered with the Australian Sports Commission to conduct a project in four Tasmanian Clubs.  The purpose of the pilot was to improve the capacity of Gymnastics Clubs to deliver quality coach education internally and focus on the skills of a Coach Developer.

Gymnastics Australia has been conducting a joint Pilot Study with the Australian Sports Commission for the past 6 months in Tasmania. The purpose of this project was to improve the capacity of Gymnastics Clubs to deliver quality coach education internally, recognising the importance of ‘on the job’ learning and its significance in coach education. This project was piloted in four Clubs within Tasmania; Kingborough Gymsports, Hobart Gymnastics Academy, Hobart PCYC and Launceston PCYC. 

Gymnastics Tasmania’s Sport Development Officer, Jo Penny worked with the Clubs and GA’s Industry Training and Accreditation Team to identify and target appropriate Coach Developers within these clubs. 

So what is a Coach Developer?

The role of the coach developer is a combination of training and mentoring with a focus on supporting the coach on the job. The Coach Developer’s role is to provide ongoing support, advice and encouragement to the coach. The key focus is hands-on helping the coach with the art of coaching.

The Pilot Project focused on providing training to each of the identified Club Coach Developers (CCD), aiming to build upon their current knowledge in supporting and mentoring coaches and enhance their skills and knowledge to grow the capability of their Club’s gymnastics workforce.  This is particularly important for remote and rural Clubs but also for Clubs who offer some of the smaller Gymsports such as aerobics, acrobatics and rhythmic gymnastics.

The focus for this project was to:

  • Provide specific training for the CCD through both an online and Face to Face training program 
  • Provide the CCD a resource kit to build an on the job training / learning plan for their coaches within the club
  • Assist and support the CCD to enable and build the capacity of WAG Intermediate Coaches to gain their WAG Advanced Coaching Accreditation
  • Evaluate the success of a CCD program to be provided as a Club resource kit
  • Determine if this CD training package can be adopted for a broad range of mentor and supervisor training within clubs.

The CCDs in each Club were responsible for leading the training, mentoring and support of three to four coaches who were working their way through the Advanced WAG Coaching Accreditation, with a total of 15 WAG Intermediate coaches undertaking the Pilot study. Gymnastics Australia was extremely fortunate to contract the services of world renowned expert Mr Gene Schembri to assist in the development and training of the Coach Developers. 

On February 3, Gymnastics Australia and the Australian Sports Commission conducted a review session with both the CCDs and Trainee coaches at Kingborough Gymsports. David Hill from Eclipse Gymnastics was contracted to conduct the assessment on the trainee candidates in the afternoon session and praised the pilot program and its results: 

‘Overall I felt all the candidates were at a consistently higher level of preparedness than I have previously experienced at other [Face to Face] advanced courses that I have presented….. It was very interesting to see the debrief session and to see the different levels of assistance that mentors provided. ‘

Over the next month Gymnastics Australia will be completing a final report for the Australian Sports Commission and provide future recommendations of how this pilot and its resources could be accessed, delivered and utilised in every Gymnastics Club.