As part of this week’s UK Coaching Week awareness campaign we reflect on the unique challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and how we have responded with adaptations to the WPBSA Coaching Programme to ensure that courses can continue to take place safely.
Traditionally incorporating both classroom and practical elements, both our Level 1 WPBSA Snooker Coach and 1st4sport Level 2 Certificate in Snooker Coaching course dates scheduled for this spring were initially postponed in view of the lockdown restrictions imposed by the UK government back in March.
With measures having since been relaxed however – which has enabled snooker facilities across the UK to successfully re-open in-line with guidance published by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards – we have also now been able to resume the training of new coaches, but with significant changes to be able to do so in a safe manner for all.
As the country exited lockdown, WPBSA Head of Coaching and Training Development Chris Lovell liaised closely with both 1st4sport Qualifications and UK Coaching to understand the technological challenges of a potential transition from classroom-based learning into online delivery via Zoom, while still being able to maintain existing standard of courses.
With the support of both organisations – both important partners of the WPBSA Coaching Programme – it was agreed that this would be possible, and our first online course was successfully held on 7 September.
Any practical training will remain live in our two accredited venues, with current social distancing measures to be followed at all times. Both courses have been redesigned and updated in line with COVID-19 and government guidance.
“Extensive Learner Support”
Chris Lovell said: “We are delighted that we have been successfully restart the WPBSA Coaching Programme this autumn. All of us at the WPBSA recognise the fundamental role played by our WPBSA Snooker Coaches in the development and furtherance of our sport from local to national level and therefore the importance of being able to resume with the training of new coaches in this way.
“Going forwards we see these exciting new initiatives as an opportunity to open up snooker coaching to an even wider audience to support the growth of the sport. The introduction of online training will reduce costs for coaches who would otherwise need to travel and of course in the current climate ensures that any risks to all involved are minimised as far as possible.
“We fully appreciate that online teaching and training can be a little daunting for some, but we are keen to fully support everybody with extensive learner support, including personal learning sessions if required.”
Stephen Warburton, Qualifications Development Manager for 1st4sport said: “It is fantastic to see WPBSA being so proactive in adapting their delivery to the present circumstances. 1st4sport fully support the use of technology as coach education recommences across the country and worked collaboratively with WPBSA to ensure that the virtual classroom sufficiently supported coaches prior to assessment. The first Zoom session was observed by one of our External Quality Assurers who reported that the course received positive feedback from the coaches and that it was a relaxed atmosphere delivered at a good pace, with a mix of tasks and theory; fully interactive with lots of opportunity for questions and discussion.”
Learn more about the WPBSA Coaching Programme.