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Posted in: Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD When you wished you had never started a course but you really need to complete it.

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  • pippaglen

    Late last year I took the plunge to start on the next step in athletics to become an event specific coach. I was wondering if any athletics coaches have taken the plunge to become event specific. How long has it taken you to complete? I have never seen so many videos to watch 133 some lasting 45 to 14 minuets with 26 assessments to complete, much information to take in is almost mind numbing and most of this is repeated from the athletics coaching course. My aim is to get it completed before assessment day  which takes place in December 2017. I'm not struggling with the course but I'm struggling with the large amounts of information that has to be taken in, by the time I get to the assessment part I have actually forgotten the first part of the coaching section I was learning about ( good job I write notes) due to the extremely large amounts of information to learn, I actually feel like my brain is more than over flowing. 

    If you have completed the course over the past 12 months how have you found the information? 

    Did you find some information repetitive? 

    Do you think the course could be condensed? 

  • cath

    I did the same thing with a qualification in sports governance earlier this year. I started a course administered by Institute of Company Secretaries and Administrators and delivered by webinar. I read the course material, made notes, re-read bits of it, attended the webinars, did the two practice tasks and now am awaiting the exam on 30 November. The webinars finished at the beginning of May and I am not sure I am going to take the exam. It all seems so remote now. And it's been so long since I sat an exam. I've  had the benefit of the course material and the knowledge therein and I can see the value to having a qualification but I am afraid I might fail. Nothing will happen work wise if I fail, it's a personal thing. I don't want to fail.

    The focus of the exam questions will be applying the learned material, I think I just need to commit myself during November, revise the material and practice past exam questions. The lack of support from ICSA is bothering me a bit. I would like more feedback on practice exam questions, I would be more motivated to try them. As it is I don't know if my answers are good or bad.

    This is not the same course as you but I can see common threads, the amount of material, the worry about forgetting it all, the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed, and you don't mention any support, so perhaps that's a common thread too.

  • pippaglen

    Hi Catherine

    Thank you for your response, I really don't think it matters what course your taking, I think with the lack of support, the long waiting time from completing the online work to the actual exam or assessment day is far too long. Im aware in athletics they try to do most of the assessment days when out of season around about October November time but still if you have completed the work months before the likely hood of forgetting everything you have learned is quite high and your more likely to feel more under pressure to revise for personal reasons like you say in fear of failing and you don't want to feel all that hard work you put in months ago have gone to waste, the amount of work involved all contributes towards time, effort and hard work put into the course. 

    I have already completed 6 assessments and probably watch over 30 videos but I really can't remember everything I have watched and over the past couple of weeks they have just added another 6 assessments and videos to the course I actually thought I was going crazy and thinking you have nearly done when actually I haven't.

    The coach I'm working alongside has said he can't believe how much work is now required to pass and complete the event specific element. 

    The problem I have is in Parathletics the event's are much different to the athletics side yet there's no course for these event's (not the I have seen) although I do have my wheelchair racing qualification.  I have to complete a Hammer throwing assessment before I can attend assessment day, I have asked if I can opt out as I'm not coaching this event but have been told I have to as part of the event's group qualification, so along with the event's I also have to take the course on hammer throwing and complete a separate assessment day.

    I really hope you continue with the assessment day and exam you really don't want to waste all the hard work you have put in, if you pass its a bonus for you. 

  • AndyP
    Hi Emma
    I did the Event Group coach a while back - I think I was maybe the second wave of assessments when they brought in the new qualification.
    There is a lot of content, but it is good stuff. I'm definitely a bit of a zealot when it comes to the level of knowledge I think coaches should have, but I genuinely believe that the bulk of this module should be the minimum required to coach unsupervised. I'm well aware I'm in the minority and that throws up all sorts of practical issues about where that many coaches would come from, but the lack of knowledge I regularly see from many coaches at the track really distressed me.
    The content definitely takes a while to get through, but I just did it in lots of little note size chunks. I was at something of an advantage in that a lot of it was going over stuff I had seen at conferences or read elsewhere, so it was more of a refresher than anything else. What I would say though is that when it comes to the integration day it doesn't matter whether all of that information is at the tip of your tongue - it's not that sort of assessment. It's not really an assessment at all, rather a workshop where you bounce ideas of other coaches, break down videos together, discuss what interventions you might make and how you would plan things... it's actually quite fun if you are a bit of a nerd like me!!
    Generally I'd say try not to get too stressed about it and just enjoy the process of learning! Happy to be a sounding board if you want to bounce thoughts/ideas/questions of someone.
  • pippaglen

    Hi Andy Thank you for your response.

    What events group did you do?

    Only assuming you did the Throws events, I'm a little worried as I haven't done any hammer throwing as the athletes I coach are Para Athletes, we coach, discus, shot putt, javelin and club throws. I was advised that I needed to complete the Hammer just in case I would like to coach it in later years. Like you I'm a learning nerd and love learning new and exciting information especially for coaching session, I enjoy updating my CPD gaining more knowledge is far better than not having it like some coaches I have seen, Like you have stated there's so many coaches that don't keep up with CPD which frustrates me I feel as a coach CPD is important for yourself and your athletes.  Thank you for the offer I may need to take you up on this. 

  • Mudandmiles

    Hi Emma,

    I too have recently started the event group coach online course (endurance) and am feeling quite overwhelmed by it. I think that the content is good and I am enjoying taking on board some new learning as well and revisiting some I have done previously. It is the sheer amount to be done that I am struggling with - the number of units and the number of sections within each unit. It feels like a long list I will never get to the end of. Like you, I have worked through about 6 units and their assessments so far and feel like I haven't even reached the tip of the iceberg yet. I enjoy learning, but I like learning in different ways, and so far every video I have watched has been presented by the same person, facing the same way, with the same music. How I will concentrate on the rest if they are all the same, I don't know! I can already feel myself switching off at times.

    I had originally aimed to complete the course this autumn ready for a December integration day but having seen the sheer volume that needs to be done, I have decided to take a new approach. I am now working through the units as I please, choosing the ones that are of particular interest to me or the ones that are particularly pertinent to athletes I am currently coaching. That way I feel I am gaining something that is immediately useful to me in some way and improves my coaching. I've decided that my December goal to complete is unrealistic and unnecessary, so I will do what I can before then, and carry the rest on into next year, as at the end of the day, the 'event group' coach stamp is less important to me than the learning itself.


  • AndyP

    I was Sprints and Hurdles, although I cherrypicked modules from Jumps and Throws that I was interested in (when I suddenly found myself coaching a multieventer!) as well.

  • pippaglen

    Hi Rachel thank you fro your reply.

    Many videos and lots of information, I have tried to print off some of the relevant information to make it easier however there is only so much ink in my printer and thinking about the amount of trees too wink

    My aim was for the December intake but like you've stated I really don't think that is going to happen, family life, work and coaching just seems to get in the way laughing. maybe just plodding along until I finish, if we do get it completed then it's a bonus and maybe we might see each other at the integration day.

  • pippaglen

    Love coaching Multi events Andy as this give variety for both the coach and the athletes, once I have completed this I was hoping to plough through another event now I know what's coming  lol.

  • I did the Event group sprints and hurdles as I'm a hurdler and hurdles specialist myself. and chose that course because I wanted to develop myself as a sprint hurdles coach.  I think that if the underlying interest or passion is there it's easier to get through the tricky bits. When I was studying online I took my time with the modules and kept thinking-'how will I integrate this into my practice?" I had a group I could work with and so could try out a lot of what I was learning. My view is that these kinds of courses help you to work out what kind of coach you are-what YOU believe in and what YOU want to do. I really looked forward to my integration day as I got to go to Bath University and work with Malcolm Arnold-who is now my long distance mentor. 

    In general I'd say that any course taken that doesn't connect with your passions (in my case -as part of my personal training offering-Boxercise) will be a cert grimly earned and rarely used.

  • FRWood

    Really interested to pick up on this thread.  I too am wading my way through UKathletics Event Group Endurance and had planned to do the integration day this year, but there are no courses in Scotland - so lucky escape, I can focus my thoughts on next year when I am told there will be a course I can get to.  I liked the suggestion of doing the stuff that interests you now, rather than working through in order - which I've been doing up till now.  I think I will start focussing on stuff that's more immediately useful to me in my current coaching - and console myself with the point that the learning is important, not the badge!  Thanks everyone!

  • pippaglen

    Hi Frances

    It's great to hear that you too have taken the plunge into coaching event specific. I have given my brain a rest for a few weeks just to see if I was putting too much pressure on myself to complete it before December. 

    I think that CC is great to see other coaches ideas and how other struggle too and that it's not just myself. I think I'm just over whelmed with the volume of information to take in. I will just continue to plod on and if I don't get it completed before December then I will just have to continue until I do. 

  • PaulMoseley

    Hi Emma (and everyone else who has posted on this thread).

    Apologies for seeing this a little late, but now that I have read all the posts, I thought that it may be useful to add to the thread.

    I'm responding to this as a coach who has been through the content, but also in my professional capacity as Education and Workforce Manager - England Athletics.

    I know that the online content can seem very daunting (and at times tedious), with the amount of information being presented and the length of the videos that we need to watch and take information from. That said, having been through the content for 2 of the Event Groups (and yes the repetition was a little frustrating - same content that you need to go through again), taking each section in stages was the way I 'attacked' the content and learning. I also 'cherry picked' content that was either a refresher of knowledge I already had, or that I had covered at workshops and conferences. What I also did was to look at some of the technical content (including the Physical Prep stuff) that was of more interest to me and my coaching at a particular time, as I was more interested in what I could put in to practice or check that I was on the right track. I recognise that this left me with the less interesting elements (to me) and that that the risk was that I may not complete, but once I had got into a bit of a system, that risk didn't materialise.

    What also helped was the opportunity to speak with other coaches and to bounce ideas off each other (as well as the frustrations of undertaking the qualification).

    What I can also say about the Integration Day is that it is not an Assessment, so don't worry about that - there is no exam, or test. Instead, the day is structured to be an additional learning opportunity where coaches can consolidate knowledge, as well as discuss and debate views and opinions. There is time spent on exploring what coaches see (the coaching eye) and the filter process, as well as discussing prioritisation of athlete development and focus (this is the debate bit - for example, I might say that I would focus on the development of the base of support, whereas someone else may want to look at another area, both of which would be correct). There is also time spent on planning related to the athlete's development needs - again this often stimulates great debate. The opportunity to discuss and debate views and decisions is a fantastic learning opportunity that often provides the coach with additional ideas (at least, that's the aim).

    Recognising that the crux of the thread was the amount of content, it's format and then the perception of assessment, I would hope that you may find comfort in that others feel similar, but also that some of the concerns (especially the assessment) don't materialise.

    Essentially, and it has been mentioned earlier in the thread, your learning is maximised when you are interested in the content (whether that be because you are interested in the subject matter, or because it serves a higher purpose). I hope that you can find a system to completing the online content that keeps you engaged and that the opportunity to meet up with like-minded coaches at the Integration Day to network and bounce ideas off each other, is enough of a carrot laughing

    I wish you well with all your coaching and your continued development.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the qualification.

    Best wishes


  • Mudandmiles

    Thank you Paul for your post - it's really helpful to have the insight of someone who sees it from both sides. I'm pleased to see that I'm not alone in adopting the 'cherry-picking' strategy and that your perceived risk of leaving the less interesting (to you) sections of the course until the end, and therefore not completing, did not materialise. That was something that was worrying me too. What you have said about the integration day is really helpful - I too had assumed it was some kind of assessment rather than an additional learning day. Knowing that this will be an opportunity for discussion with other coaches makes it something to look forward to, as I don't often get that opportunity, so is an added incentive to get those units finished!

  • pippaglen

    Hi Paul!

    Thank you for responding to my post, It's great to see a member of England athletics responding to the post putting not just my mind at rest but other coaches too.  I'm Currently working with Throws coach Phil Pete coaching disability athletics. Phil has given me a vast amount of time, help, information, support and mentoring over the past 2 half years however I feel I need to watch other coaches too but due to me not being part of a club or affiliated to a club  I'm unsure if I'm allowed to just go and watch other coaches.  

    Like you and another coaches have advised to look at the contents that interest you which I think I'm going to have to do. 

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