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I coach croquet - a game not often discussed on these forums! Croquet, unlike most other sports, does not have a process for coaches (of any grade) to follow to develop their skills and knowledge, and I would like to address that. The first thing I am doing is organising a 'coaches workshop' next April. However, I have no experience at all of any similar event, and was hoping that coaches from other sports could give me a guiding hand and lots of ideas that I could work on for the event. Many thanks!
Paddlesports (canoeing and kayaking) coaching has a whole range of 3hr and 6hr modules. Ranging from 'coaching young paddlers' to 'coaching the mind'. They have been developed from generic research.
It might also be worth looking at Istvan Balyi as most olympic sports adopted and adapted his 'long term athlete development' model. Although I don't believe in it all.
Thanks very much, NT, for your suggestions. I think the Istvan Balyi model is too sophisticated for where croquet coaching is right now, but I will look into the paddlesports pathway and use of e-learning modules - which I am interested in developing (though, that is another task altogether!)..
My current focus is to start with the 'baby step' of a coaches workshop to get a feel from existing coaches as to their thoughts and reactions to providing further coaches training & development.- is there a hunger/demand for this, and, if so, in what form? A positive response would then provide a firm basis for developing the next steps.
So, organising the first coaches workshop and making it successful is key!
In order to get an idea of how to help - what are your objectives for the first workshop?
What age group is the biggest participant group in Croquet and is it played in mixed teams? Your workshop needs may vary dependant on participants learning styles. I confess to knowing very little about Croquet but am imaging it is similar to Bowls regarding Coach requirements. Is there a majority of older participants? Bowls coaches use a lot of break out games - small activities often played in small groups rotating, around a range of activities. So, a workshop on making practise fun would probably be useful for coaches trying to recruit and engage younger participants. Inclusivity workshops are always very useful and popular among coaches, whether the inclusion refers to disability, ethnicity, gender or other, it matters not. Principles are the same for all inclusivity of participants into mainstream activity. Then of course there are always workshops on delivery styles, communication, planning, and so on.
The man you need to speak to is Richard Brand, he is a great coach of a few sports, he & his twin brother Ivor have played croquet for years & represented England a few times as well as taught / coached it. Richard works at The National Star Centre for disabled in Cheltenham. You can tell him I suggested you call him. I'll send him a message as well.
Is there a sport out there enough like croquet with a coaching structure you can draw from? As an archery coach I follow golf coaching blogs and get ideas and inspiration from them. The sports are related in being individual sports, needing a strong mental component, and a shot routine. I don't know enough about croquet to make any spedicic suggestions.
Many thanks for everyone's responses, and my apologies for not responding sooner. I am travelling in Guatemala at the moment and have been without an internet connection for 3 days, which I hadn't anticipated. Today has been a long, long day, and I am looking forward to some dinner, a drink, and an early night, and, with a fresh brain, I will come reply properly tomorrow!
The situation is the same in Bowls! Most participants are older but representative standard through to national standard are generally younger with individual champions being twenties to thirties in Open play and lots of competitive players come through family connections which might explain this. Obviously this varies by area.
Bowls is also a tactical game, points are scored by finishing closest to the jack (target ball). Bowls are biased so can draw to the right or left depending on weight of delivery as well as direction sent. Very simplified of course. Games can be individual playing with either 2 or 4 bowls through to teams of 2, 3 or 4 playing with anything from 2 bowls to 4 bowls each. Each format bowls a different number of 'ends'. Many combinations means many opportunities to play and to hone skills. If you have watched curling on TV then there are similarities. There are variations as well between playing Indoors or Outdoors. Obviously bowling on uniform carpet is going to have different problems from bowling on grass.
Break out games for practice can be setting up equipment to bowl around, traffic cones, hoops, mats, and similar. Placing targets at varying distances so that adjustments from bowling heavy to bowling light become intrinsic. Reducing the size of the area can be encouraging for new bowlers, and relaxing rules so that they can focus on skill.
For all young learners making any skill practise part of a well known game is well received. So it could be first to reach a certain number of touches bowl on Jack; relays taking it in turns to run to the same practise; repeat x number of times; all stand around perimeter and bowl at same time to a single target, setting out the small practises as a circuit. - you would have to find the equivalent for Croquet.
Regarding Inclusivity and other ideas I really suggest you contact UK Coaching.
I hope these help.
I have experience in coaching a number of different sports, including swimming and some archery to a variety of different groups, including main stream children, children and adults with disabilities and most recently with seniors. My first thoughts on this would be to coach in some pillar strength (the ability to stand strongly with good posture so your power is delivered in a strong and accurate way). This could be done using planking, resistance bands and with QiGong. QiGong would also be very good to calm the mind and breathing of the athlete for clarity of thought accurate delivery of power. You can contact me at email@example.com for further thoughts.
One of the most powerful coach development sessions I've done was around communication. Pick a technique relevant to your sport and divide your group into one or more participants and one coach. Rotate your coaches around so that a number of people get a chance to do each role but essentially coach a technique in total silence and then once with the coaches hands behind their back. Your role for the day is debrief and pull out any benefits of the coaching. It really highlights good demonstrations, non verbal and verbal communication. Plus it is really good fun and the majority of coaches can do it with little or no knowledge of formal coaching frameworks and terminology.
Good luck, Chris
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