I attended a conference last week on Physical Activity and Mental Health.
What I came away with from my day of learning wasn’t the answers to managing that skater who throws things or that one who isolates themselves or that one who only comes to training every three weeks. I didn’t learn a whole lot of new about how activity improves mental health. What I did get was space to think and listen and see the connections.
However many years of watching skaters battle their own bodies and brains, you start to figure it out, even if you can't articulate it. But I find that when I listen closely, Missy systematically removes impasses to achievement that I never even realised existed.
I really wanted to be able to support those absolute, gripping the wall, refusing to fully stand up beginners. And while it might seem simple to those of you who have done it, when first confronted with someone clutching at me in terror because her skate moved, I froze.
For other beginner-impaired coaches, here’s what you do.
Two days, 14 coaches, one freezing gym hall later, I almost have my Level 2 BRSF Generic Skate Coach qualification. I say “almost”, because part of the process is a 39 hour online course about how to safeguard children and vulnerable adults which I have only just embarked upon.
I went in a bit uncertain of the potential value, but hopeful that I would pick up some info to fill the gaps in my coaching brain. And I promised to share my learning. The learning starts here!
I am beyond excited that this weekend I am actually finally really and truly attending a coaching qualification course for skating. After more than six years of coaching derby I’m finally getting some guidance on how to do it! Everything till now has been following, shadowing, trying, experimenting… annnnnd, I think I’ve just about sussed it.
I don't just coach the skills, though those are nice and easy and defined. It's so easy to coach a nice pretty plow stop. There are clear success measures. You can define them, hear them, see them, and, most importantly, correct them. All nice and straightforward.
Half the time not only are we not clear exactly why we’re doing something, but we’re not totally sure that we’ve replicated it quite right. Skaters dash between skating and scribbling crib notes into a notebook. We try and do diagrams then come home and look at them, turn the book upside down, ask our mates… “Do you remember how to set this drill up right?”
But we crack on because we think it’s got to be better than what we were doing before.
I pretty much ran sessions the way I would love them if I were skating. Which makes sense to a point... like when you go to someone's house, your mum always says to behave like you would like them to behave in your home (i.e no swinging from the chandeliers).