Progressing the coaching programme – What’s available
Since its founding in 1892, the World Rowing Federation (FISA) has grown far beyond setting rules and hosting rowing events.
Today, World Rowing represents 153 national rowing federations. The modern mission (here) is as much about spreading the sport and protecting the environment as it is about good governance and event hosting. Coaching is a fundamental part of developing and sustaining the sport.
Here’s a shout out to rowing coaches and the work they do throughout the world and here are four ways that World Rowing is helping develop coaches – especially in newer rowing nations.
1) Updated Coaching Levels
World Rowing’s latest upgrades to their international coach education framework seek to make the most up-to-date information accessible and practical for use in any region.
“The first FISA manuals for coaching were produced years ago,” says Yihuan Chang, FISA Development Manager. “The old framework was good, but it was time to renew it.”
As well as new content focused on more recent aspects of the sport such as para-rowing and coastal, two more advanced levels are being added to the traditional three. Level four is to help prepare mentor coaches and level five is for those who oversee all aspects of coach education or high performance directors.
“It is not finalised yet, but we have a good idea,” Chang says. More information here.
2) Coaching Academy: Training the trainers
Before World Rowing’s existing coach developers can start delivering the new material, they need to learn what’s new. Training this group has been the most recent focus.
“This first group have been working with us for some years but we are also targeting some new coaches to get involved with regional and continental activities,” says FISA development team member, Daniela Gomes.
“We want to train our coaches on how to use the new syllabus,” says Gomes, who organises the February coaching academy camp in Schinias, Greece. Rosie Mayglothling, FISA Executive Member and Chair of the Competitive Commission and Gianni Postiglione, FISA’s Coaching Director will oversee the week-long programme. Simon Goodey of the Para-rowing Commission will also be present.
Over the years, FISA has developed a systematic approach to how coach educators will operate: “We go to a country and do a level one course,” explains Gomes. “Then we do a level two course for all of the coaches in the region.”
“We are trying to have a progressive approach but we are seeing that there are several areas where we need better standardisation and integration of newer trends in coach education,” explains FISA’s Development Director, Sheila Stephens Desbans. “We know we will learn a lot from these new activities and have areas to revise going forward. Feedback from the participants will be important for an ongoing evolution.”
3) Financial support to attend events
Opportunities for coaches to access international development can be expensive. Fortunately World Rowing – sometimes alone and sometimes with partners like Olympic Solidarity – provides financial support.
“We have different ways to support,” says Gomes, pointing to some examples:
“In the Americas we provided funding for athletes and coaches to stay in Argentina for the longstanding Cup America. We also have two Central American and Caribbean Cups: in El Salvador in June and in Guatemala in October. We are partially funding a training camp and event for these.”
In another instance, partnering with Ivory Coast National Olympic Committee and Olympic Solidarity, World Rowing helped to fund coaches and their athletes at the first West Africa Championships, including the equipment.
Working with Olympic Solidarity has also helped FISA grow the depth of representation within both the Youth Olympic Games and Olympic Games Qualification systems in recent years. At the Worlds level, there is even more support.
In 2019, World Rowing will partner with event organising committees to fund 150 places for developing athletes and their coaches at the World Rowing Championships, 50 for the World Rowing Junior Championships, and 15-25 for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Full funding also extends to a second coach, if that coach is female.
4) Supporting female coaches
World Rowing is taking positive steps to raise the numbers of women who coach and better prepare them for elite performance.
“If we see a female coach without a lot of support, we can help,” says Chang. “There are courses for female coaching or leadership opportunities as well as scholarships that can come through a coach’s National Olympic Committee.”
“This year, like last year, we have funded three female coaches to attend World Rowing’s coaches conference,” says Gomes. “We continue to target female coaches as well as other talented coaches and we seek to involve them in new projects to help them grow their skills and engage and learn with other coaches in their region.”
Equal representation is also apparent in FISA’s current group of coach developers in training, which is balanced. “There is a mindset to select good coaches, both male and female,” says Gomez.