This week coaches from British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping came together for the first workshop of the inaugural British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Youth Pathway Coaching Programme.
Developed in collaboration with the equestrian Olympic and Paralympic disciplines and funded by Sport England, the Youth Pathway Coaching Programme is a new programme for the BEF and has been designed to give coaches currently working within the youth pathways more insight into the holistic approaches to athlete development, that nurtures potential from a young age, and promotes their health and well-being.
The group of 14 met up for their first workshop at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire where they were introduced to their coach mentors and learnt more about what they will be covering over the course of the 18 month programme.
David Hamer, BEF’s Head of Performance Pathways said: “This programme is specifically focussing on a young athlete’s development. We are very good at developing technical skills throughout the pathway so we have designed this programme to also equip coaches with the skills and knowledge to develop a young person’s self-efficacy and self-determination. The programme will also provide them with more depth of understanding about how the key stages in cognitive and physical development effect young people so they can recognise how to adapt training environments to suit them.”
David Hamer introduced the programme by giving a presentation on the challenges of coaching ‘Generation Z’ and how the young person of today has a hyper connected view of the world. This was followed by Fred Bergendorff delivering a key note presentation on his coaching journey and how it has shaped his philosophy as a coach.
“This is fantastic opportunity to learn how we can better support young people,” said Fred. “For an athlete it might not necessarily be about finishing first, second or third at a competition – it may be more about learning how to stay in the sport for a long time.”
Coaching and Coach Development consultant and coach mentor Nicky Fuller spoke to the group about building their personal brand and identifying their coaching values; alongside her fellow mentors, Jane Booth who developed the coaching structures at the Professionals Golfers’ Association, and Colin Wilson, who is experienced in coach mentoring across an number of sports.
British Eventing Pony Team coach, Jonquil Hemmings was one of the coaches who were inducted on the programme.
Jonquil commented: “I’ve been doing the Pony [Team coach] job for 20 years and the people that I now work with within the system have changed hugely.”
“I think expectations of parents and athletes have changed and so I feel it is important that we, and me particularly, keep up with the thoughts and processes of current research so you keep developing yourself to be a better coach.”