If we are to achieve our aspiration to grow an ever-wider and more diverse membership base of ever-increasing numbers, we have to increase the availability of inspiring and educated coaches.
Whether our coaches are introducing beginners or producing Olympic success, they enable individuals and clubs to flourish and achieve their goals. Increasing, developing, and retaining the number of great coaches in all clubs, schools, universities, and community centres is vital to introducing and retaining more people into the sport across all its forms (river, coastal and indoor), for the simple reason that rowers are more likely to stay in the sport if they receive high quality coaching and support throughout their involvement. So, we are committed to supporting communities, places, environments, and occupations within which coaches can develop, flourish, and contribute to the achievement of our shared goals; where coaching is stimulating and rewarding; and where diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity are supported. Our aim is to deliver programmes that recognise the individual needs of every learner depending on their role, the community they are part of, and the type of rowing and setting in which they are active; and to offer technical support and help develop the softer skills, encourage peer to peer learning, and facilitate mentoring.
By engaging with our coaches so that they feel engaged, motivated, stimulated and appreciated, we will create a community of curious, connected and confident lifelong learners who can support the growth of a healthy, inclusive and life-enhancing sport. We will recognise the needs of a coach at every level, delivering a life-long, engaging and relevant learning programme, creating pathways for those who want to take their coaching to the next step, and continuing to develop a full range of qualifications. We will draw on expertise from both within and outside the sport, make full use of technologies to develop new materials, and respond to the changing landscape.
We will recognise and acknowledge the significant contribution of coaches (the majority of whom are volunteers) to the experience of rowers, their communities, sports leaders, and spectators, and reward them where we can.
We will establish systems that value and support them; create a positive and inclusive environment that they want to join and stay involved in; and offer opportunities for continuous learning and access to the latest thinking (on coaching across rowing and other sports) that will enrich their experience at the same time as being affordable, accessible and current. We will simplify the way we deliver existing course elements online starting by bringing a majority of assessment online, allowing for a more centralised assessor workforce and higher completion rates at Senior Club Coach (level 3) in particular. In addition we will also be doing more to promote peer to peer learning and mentoring. With our members’ help, we will work out how we can better support those that are just helping out (many of whom will be parents or carers supporting coaching from the land)
A new digitally based rower development portal will be launched in April to help coaches develop, enhance the rower/coach relationship through mutual learning, and drive improvements.
We will do more to attract and recruit a larger, more diverse coaching base by inspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds (both rowers and non-rowers) and demonstrate that coaching is a satisfying and engaging activity. Our GROW programme will seek to find coaches and clubs looking to work across all communities to introduce the sport to new people and help them continue as longer term members of clubs.
A new project which supports clubs to develop activators with entry level community activator training is being developed to support clubs who have experienced significant disruption to rowing activity post pandemic . This training will be an introduction to supporting rowing activity and does not replace formal coaching qualifications. Our aim is to help ease the pressure on other club coaches and volunteers and to ensure newcomers have a positive first experience of the sport and encourage retention. It will include a clear pathway for further development into coaching.
We will make these coaching opportunities widely available, and ensure that what is required is easily understood. Anyone thinking of becoming a coach or supporting coaches should be able to find out easily how to get involved, through a central hub where all new roles can be advertised . We will promote recruitment opportunities for all coaches - volunteer and professional - on social networks such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
We will also explore the role of apprenticeships and partnerships with young people’s organisations such as Scouts and Guides, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as school’s partnerships/6th form colleges and the DiSE programme, to help with CV building and to support young coaches to develop.
The more people we retain and inspire, the lower the number that leave disillusioned, and the more the sport will grow.