My Journey Through the UKCC Level 3 Scheme

So...I'm now a UKCC Level 3 Kayak Coach - there is no higher award in the current BCU coaching scheme that is open to new applicants after the last of the Level 5 Training courses finished in 2011. So I guess you could say I'm one of the first of the new breed of top end coaches coming through.

I thought this blog would help those going through the process that I have been through to gain an understanding of what to expect and provide a point of reference to the key points that I picked up along the way... So I hope it's of use...

My journey along this UKCC Level 3 path has taken lots of time and effort, but it was well worth it! Throughout this article I've highlighted in bold the key points as I worked through my process which will have subsequent blogs linked to a new topic to help you gain a greater depth of understanding - you'll soon get the drift and as you'll see below, a link is already in place to cover TTPP principles in more detail...

It all started in 2010 with my Core and Intermediate modules which gave a great insight into the coaching behaviours required to enable student centric learning over a medium term (which is defined for this coaching award as over a 12 month period). By that I mean we're not necessarily looking for a quick fix in one session, but looking to put a progressive set of sessions together over a longer period of time aimed at meeting the development and needs of the student over that medium term. Sure, tactical fixes still have a place in our toolbox as an enabler, but here we're concentrating on a longer term learning outcome with a more student centric approach that results in a longer term skill development that will aid a greater retention of that skill and thus will lead to a more skillful and autonomous paddler.

One of the key points for me from a UKCC Level 3 perspective is.. know your students aims and objectives, understand what needs to be worked on over a period of time and get their buy in into a programme aimed at those very needs that you have identified. This will require a certain amount of negotiation of goals and objectives that the students present and the needs that you identify after a period of observation.

I started off with a core group of 6 from my local club. These soon, through natural attrition, dropped down to a group of four after injuries (skiing!) and personal circumstances arose. The core group that remained were a really keen duo of fathers and sons, and it was great to see a certain level of competition between the sons and their fathers!

The very first session was purely an observation session from my perspective on a section of grade 2/3 on the River Derwent at Matlock, Derbyshire. This was very informative and allowed me to, through the tasks I set, observe their performance and gain an understanding of what needed to be developed to meet their goals which I had earlier ascertained over breakfast. So piecing this all together like a jigsaw, allowed me to:

  • Understand their goals and objectives - where they want to take their paddling in the future
  • Profile their current performance through the practical tasks I set against the profile of their goals
  • Develop a plan that met the needs of the students whilst delivering against their goals
  • Negotiate and gain agreement to the plan that I had developed

That's one of the key points here for me, developing a plan that meets the needs of the student and assists them in achieving their goals. Without that process, it would disengage the students and ultimately lead to failure of the medium term plan that was developed if it was purely coach led - we must focus on a student led outcome rather than what we would like to coach!

The remainder of the medium term plan concentrated on the delivery of sessions to support those goals and objectives and included elements of the TTPP spectrum.

So, what have I learnt through the process of becoming a UKCC Level 3 Coach and developing a medium term plan? Well the fact that courses should be individualised to the needs of your students. Sure, incorporate some tactical quick fixes where required, but medium term development can be achieved using more student centric coaching approaches that aid more retentive learning and development outcomes. These should be deployed wherever possible.

Thanks for reading. I am always available and willing to support or mentor coaches so if you are looking to develop your coaching style, or are looking for a mentor to support you through your development then please do check out my coach support page or get in contact with me and we can discuss your needs.

 I'll touch on the items in bold in future blogs.... so keep an eye out for the next article...! I hope it helps on your journey...