Sport England launches coaching plan to reach out to the inactive
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Sport England launches coaching plan to reach out to the inactive

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Sport England has kicked off a review of the current coaching qualifications framework in an attempt to upskill physical activity professionals to work with inactive or underrepresented people.

As part of the grassroots sport quango’s Coaching Plan for England, 1,000 new apprentice coaches will be recruited, while current coaches will be taught how to deliver a “warm welcome”, “no jargon” and a “pressure-free environment” for new people taking part.

The plan forms part of Sport England’s overarching ambition to reach out to physically inactive members of the population as detailed in its Towards an Active Nation strategy.

Figures presented by the organisation reveal that a third of all people who don’t play sport would be encouraged to if they had an inspirational and understanding coach.

The Coaching Plan for England puts forward a “rethink” of the way coaches are recruited, trained and supported, with an “emphasis on serving complete beginners”.

One priority of the plan is to encourage the recruitment of more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) coaches, as well as female coaches and LGBT coaches.

An advisory group will be set up to find ways to encourage more coaches from these backgrounds.

Digital methods of learning coaching skills will also be highlighted as a way to “attract a broader range of people to the role”.

Phil Smith, Sport England director of sport, said that to get more people active “we have to move past the, often inaccurate, perception of impatient coaches shouting from the sidelines”.

“The reality of coaching is that it can be so much more,” he added. “Connecting with people, understanding their needs and tailoring support to create the best experience for them is where the future of coaching lies.”

Danny Kerry, who coached Team GB’s women’s hockey team to gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, endorses the scheme.

He said: “If we’re going to get more people living healthy and active lifestyles – whatever a person’s background or level of ability – we need to do everything we can to create excellent experiences, every single time.”

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Sport England has kicked off a review of the current coaching qualifications framework in an attempt to upskill physical activity professionals to work with inactive or underrepresented people.
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