I am about to start a new little adventure in my coaching journey. Next week I start as a presenter of coach education modules in the New Zealand Rowing system.
And, even in that first paragraph, you can see that I come from another time. These days the organisation is Rowing NZ, New Zealand Rowing dates back to when I, and the world, were young. Back then the coach education on offer in New Zealand was occasional one of presentations by visiting luminaries and the four times a year arrival of a wad of photocopied pages from Peter Irvine.
Back then an absolute highlight was when a smuggled copy of a dodgy translation of the East German book Rudern became available. This was the first real text book on rowing I had seen and was impressive in its width and depth of coverage.
Today we have a plethora of rowing books; texts, memoirs, how to books, philosophical musings and all available at the push of a few buttons over the internet. There are also rowing blogs, rowing videos, rowing chat rooms and, generally, more resources than an insecure and out of his depth young coach in 1981 could have dreamt of. We also have specialised online rowing shops and coaching services.
The Rowing NZ coach education system is organised. We have Introductory Modules, Levels 1 to 3, much emphasis on safety, points to be earned and certificates to be gained. Most of the material is produced by highly qualified academic coaching professionals. All this is a far cry from where we started 30 years ago. I have been part of Coach Education for all of my 35 years as a coach; on both sides of the classroom, and in four countries. One thing I have learnt is that I don’t know very much.
One thing I don’t know and would love to hear from you about is what inexperienced coaches really want to know. Do you want what systems like ours offer or are we missing the point somewhere?
I look forward to hearing from you all.