Coaches come together to craft their development

The coaches selected for British Rowing’s Coach Development Opportunities started off by shaping their individual learning plans for this year

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The launch session for British Rowing’s new Coach Development Opportunities took place in the inspiring surroundings of the GB Rowing Team’s National Training Centre in Caversham last week.

Drawn from nearly 100 applicants, the 44 highly-motivated coaches in the 2024 cohorts share an ambition to make a difference in the sport of rowing, both where they coach now and in future roles or environments in the sport. During the year they will be working with community and pathway athletes, complementing the coaches on British Rowing’s Performance Coach Development Programme in high-performance settings.

coaches in discussion

41% of the coaches are based in areas outside the South East of England. All fulfil the criteria of the Coach Development Opportunities, which are aimed at coaches who are:

  • Underrepresented in the sport (specifically women, ethnic minorities, and those with a declared disability)
  • Motivated to develop grassroots and pathways rowers from any background
  • Motivated and excited to reflect and learn plus invested in their development.
“We thank those who were not successful this time for their enthusiasm in developing as coaches and offered them other roles supporting the opportunities, or signposted them to other development opportunities.” – Georgina Williams, British Rowing Coach Developer (Pathways)

The Coach Development Opportunities have three cohorts this year, each reflecting a different aspect of the role of coaching in an ever changing society:

Cohort 1: Developing people who want to make a difference in coaching through a specific project (11 coaches)

Cohort 2: Supporting women in, into and back into coaching (16 coaches)

Cohort 3: Supporting the next generation of coaches (17 coaches)

The projects that Cohort 1 have devised include physical conditioning for masters and disabled rowers; making rowing more accessible to all; sports psychology for club coaches; how to develop leadership in rowing crews; and talent ID in hard to access areas.

At the launch day, the coaches started getting to know the Associate Coach Developers who will be providing 1-1 support to each of them. Together, they began the process of benchmarking themselves against the National Professional Standards for Coaching. They also discussed and shared stories about challenging situations they have faced as developing coaches.

Using this, they worked with the Associate Coach Developers to shape their workshop and community of practice themes, by capturing key topics for their coaching knowledge development and key behaviour and skills strategies for their personal development.

rowing coaches at the national training centre posing for a photograph

The day ended with an innovative session in which the coaches and Associate Coach Developers first worked separately to brainstorm how coaches can get the most out of Coach Developers, and then came together to identify a list of top tips they will refer to during the year ahead.

Sheyi Blackett, a coach from Twickenham Rowing Club taking part in Cohort 2 said: “It’s been a brilliant day. We’ve had so much knowledge and so many experiences shared from other coaches and the Coach Developers. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Associate Coach Developer Lindsay Trimming said: “What’s been really great today has been the openness of the coaches. Often when you come to a place like this people feel quite vulnerable about sharing their stories, but they’ve been really open, and it’s been great to see how other people in the groups can connect to those stories and shared experiences. We’ve been really pleased at how supportive the coaches have been of each other.”

Sarah Harris, Head of the Learning, Education and Development Team said: “launching these initiatives has been an absolute highlight for the Learning Education and Development team. We’ve listened to feedback from the rowing community and the coaches who are out there day to day working with their athletes, and we hope these initiatives will help coaches to have the tools to enjoy their work, and that it will have an impact on their rowers.”

Want to find out about other coach development opportunities either this year or for 2025?

Please contact education@britishrowing.org or visit the Learning, Education and Development section of the British Rowing website.

British Rowing is extremely grateful to the National Lottery, Sport England and The Scullery, without whose funding and support this valuable learning opportunity could not happen.