The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

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cswalker
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The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by cswalker »

There seems to be a lot off bad feeling to the BCU.

Is it really justified?
Has anyone made a true effort to contact them to discuss your thoughts?
What can be done?
Is the new coaching scheme really that bad or is it people afraid of change and having to meet new potentially better guidelines / standards?
Will it really affect non-professional coaches?
Is the new develpments not better for the development of the coaching sport and those that it will teach and protect?
Can you honestly say that the BCU has/ does nothing for you as a paddler and the development of our sport since its creation?

(Merely questions to promote discussion!)

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Post by Wilf »

I think, as is often the case, it is only those who are unhappy making their points known. Those who are happy that the new coaching Service, will provide better equipped, more relevent coaches in the future are keeping quiet, not wanting to get into a bun fight.

This forum is an easy way of venting steam.

Also, for many, they feel it is the accepted norm to criticise the NGB. In many universities there is a culture of non-conformity, so to be a member of the NGB would not be seen to be the right thing at all, but to put it down is.

Many old coaches are worried that they may lose their precious titles (even though many do not perform at the standard of that title) and this creates hot air.

The new system will produce better coaches. Period.

What I am not sure yet is how well clubs will adapt to the new systems. Clearly the new 4 Star award is intended to help out clubs who need leaders rather than coaches. My local Swaldale Outdoor Club is a good example, where coaching is constitutionally banned (I know, don't get me started).

The only down side to the whole thing I can see is mostly a getting used to changes in titles. If clubs want coaches, and I mean, want people to really coach, they will support them in the new, more thorough process. If they simply want people to pass on information.... well that goes on anyway, why bother with a ticket.

My feeling is that Pride has a lot to do with the grumblings that are going on. Do I like the change of my title from Level 5 coach to Level 4? No.

But the reality of it is, my practice will not change nor my responsibilities or services I offer.
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Re: The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by RobMoffatt »

cswalker wrote: Can you honestly say that the BCU has/ does nothing for you as a paddler and the development of our sport since its creation?
I honestly feel that in the 5 years that I have been paddling the BCU has done nothing for me, and whilst they have helped to develop the sport, they are now potentially causing a detrimental change to the sports further development.


cswalker wrote:Is the new coaching scheme really that bad or is it people afraid of change and having to meet new potentially better guidelines / standards?

Is the new develpments not better for the development of the coaching sport and those that it will teach and protect?
I don't think that the ideas and plans behind the new system is all bad - however the implementation has been awful.
cswalker wrote:Will it really affect non-professional coaches?
It might not affect current non-professional coaches, however it will affect new non-professional coaches, who will need to give up lots more time and money to do the courses. (I accept that more time was needed, but feel that perhaps 5 days training for Level 1 and again for Level 2 is excessive).

The organisations/people most affected by these changes will be small clubs and school groups. Many small clubs are based entirely upon a backbone of coaching and introducing beginners to the sport. When there are fewer coaches available due to the new system, these clubs will not be able to charge for coaching services which provides vital income for the clubs to upgrade kit etc.

Also school groups will be less likely to go kayaking, because parents/Health & Safety officials want reassurance that the person in charge of the sessions is suitably experienced to ensure the safety of the pupils. They only way to do this is by having qualifications. My old school ran a few sessions for groups going on expeditions and these were run by a level 2 kayak coach. With fewer people available holding these qualifications fewer school pupils will be able to try kayaking as part of a school group. Surely this is detrimental to the future of the sport?

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Post by Rob_Roy »

What have the Romans ever done for us?

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Post by Jules »

[quote=cswalker]Will it really affect non-professional coaches?[/quote]

The BCU UKCC scheme WILL have a negative impact on the number of volunteer coaches working at the grass roots level of the sport. Ignoring the financial side, the simple requirement for people to take a 5 days course in order to become qualified rather than the current 2 days means that to become a coach you are likely to have to give up holiday time. People's 4 weeks a year are very precious to them, particularly to those with families, and as such many are not going to give them up in order to sit in a classroom. The added requirement that you must now complete a Level 1 before completing a Level 2, and being able to operate autonomously, compounds the problem.

Better coaches maybe, but far less of them.

UKCC deals in coaching competitive sports. Recreational paddling is not a competitive sport. I think the BCU have lost sight of this.

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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Remember that the first 5 days will only get you to level and the remit to act as an assistant to a more highly qualified coach who will need to be in attendance. In order to get to level 2 there will be a further 5 days.

I echo the thoughts above and have stated many times before that the new system may produce 'better' coaches, I wonder whether we actually need better coaches for most of the coaching which is provided at a recreational level.

To respond a little to Wilf's comments, I really can't see anyone complaining about a change in title from level 5 to UKCC level 4 if, in reality, it means the same thing. If the BCU intend to drop the level 5 idea, there is no loss.

The downside is not the changes in title, it is the impact on the numbers of qualified coaches able to introduce newcomers to the sport.

I keep saying this but having 4 star paddlers as leaders is not sufficient for most club activities where participants are normally at a lower standard and need coaching rather than just leading.

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Re: The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by srnet »

There seems to be a lot off bad feeling to the BCU.

Is it really justified?
I think so.

The point of the changes is to marry the BCU scheme to the UKCC.

Read what the UKCC says about it;

"What does the UKCC mean for Coaches.....

The creation of nationally recognised standards for coach education will professionalise the role of the coach. Most professional industries have a standard for qualification now coaching does. The UKCC will raise the profile of sports coaching.

A UK wide qualification means it is easier for coaches to move between the Home Countries and gain employment as a coach.

The transferable elements of core parts of UKCC qualifications mean it will be easier to move between sports.

It will be easier to highlight your level of coaching to potential employers."

In other words the UKCC coaching scheme is about those who coach for a living, I see no mention there of the needs of the volunteer.

On of the biggest poblems I see in the Volunteer Sector (I am a Scout Activities assessor) is that the base level for sole working is now L2 so the effective training course requirement has gone from 2 days (old L1) to 10 days (new L2).

This large increase must act as a huge dissincentive to volunteers even starting on the coaching ladder.

Within Scouting leaders dont actually need to hold the awards but even so many were prepared to do L1 since it fitted the requirement, i.e teaching begginers in a generally safe environment. The 2 days training and the skill level were not too onerous.

So why such a huge increase in the requirements for sole working, safety, do L1 coaches actually needed 5 times as much training, taking the sport forward etc. None of these seem credible reasons.

The reason of course is that the UKCC system defines what a L1 can do;

"1 Assist more qualified coaches, delivering aspects of coaching sessions, normally under direct supervision"

So because of the UKCC accreditation (and for no other sensible reason) an L1 cannot operate alone.

I agree with what others have said, the changes will produce better coaches and be very good for those who coach for a living.

But overall far fewer people will be able to access coaching because there are fewer coaches and they will now have to pay to get what in the past was provided for free.

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Post by srnet »

Adrian Cooper wrote: The downside is not the changes in title, it is the impact on the numbers of qualified coaches able to introduce newcomers to the sport.

I keep saying this but having 4 star paddlers as leaders is not sufficient for most club activities where participants are normally at a lower standard and need coaching rather than just leading.
I agree with both points, and I suspect that most beginners are introduced to the sport by volunteer intructors.

There has been comment on here from (presumably experienced professional coaches) that the way for clubs to go is probably the 4* route. So there seems acceptance within the 'profession' that the changes will mean less exposure to coaching for the large numbers of kayakers in the volunteer\club sector.

What I would like to know is why this anticipated reduced exposure to coaching (in the volunteer\club sector) is seemingly seen as a good thing and a way forward, it strikes me that it is exactly the opposite.

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Post by tape34 »

Wilf wrote:I What I am not sure yet is how well clubs will adapt to the new systems. Clearly the new 4 Star award is intended to help out clubs who need leaders rather than coaches. My local Swaldale Outdoor Club is a good example, where coaching is constitutionally banned (I know, don't get me started).
Not sure if it's constitutionally banned but it is certainly a condition of our club insurance, so effectively the same thing.

Having a 'no coaching' set-up is not as bad as you might think, trip leaders still ensure that paddlers know about water conditions, that the group has all the equipment we need and any reminders about group awarness etc can still be voiced. We still talk to eachother about ongoing conditions, lines to take, protection needed, etc. The club organises some coaching from external providers and members go on coaching courses perhaps more than they would if we had internal coaches.

Being unable to be foisted into a coaching position may be an advantage to experienced paddlers who really want to get out and paddle. There are many clubs who sell themselves as suitable for complete beginners whereas our club is definately for paddlers with some experience.

Sorry that was a bit off topic and not meant to be a rant! As you said Wilf, (and wrt Adrian) the new 4 star award will be ideal for us and I think fills a void for club paddlers, it's much more progressive than the old award and very relevant (along with 5 star) to our sort of paddling.

My main gripe with BCU is it's (apparent) lack of commitment to the recreational paddler and our greatest problem of access. If BCU is unable to lead the English access debate then they should encourage someone else to do so.
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Post by Richard Uren »

The creation of nationally recognised standards for coach education will professionalise the role of the coach
I think we need to see the difference between being professional in our approach and being a professional.
The general standard of some coaching at intro level is shocking, why not have a better equipped base from which to build ?
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Post by srnet »

Richard Uren wrote:The general standard of some coaching at intro level is shocking, why not have a better equipped base from which to build ?
But why is it shocking ?

Is it that people who are assessed to the BCU accepted standard dont then coach at that standard ?

Or is for example the L1 standard set by the BCU shocking ?

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Re: The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by cswalker »

RobMoffatt wrote:I honestly feel that in the 5 years that I have been paddling the BCU has done nothing for me
Have you actually directly asked them to do something for you?

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Re: The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by RobMoffatt »

cswalker wrote:
RobMoffatt wrote:I honestly feel that in the 5 years that I have been paddling the BCU has done nothing for me
Have you actually directly asked them to do something for you?
No because I don't think that there is anything that they can do for me, other than drain my Bank balance which they seem more than happy to do at present. I can't think of one thing that the BCU in its present state could do for an individual such as myself.

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Re: The BCU - Why are people disheartened?

Post by cswalker »

RobMoffatt wrote:
cswalker wrote:
RobMoffatt wrote:I honestly feel that in the 5 years that I have been paddling the BCU has done nothing for me
Have you actually directly asked them to do something for you?
No because I don't think that there is anything that they can do for me, other than drain my Bank balance which they seem more than happy to do at present. I can't think of one thing that the BCU in its present state could do for an individual such as myself.
Fair enough, but why be a member then and 'waste' your money and slate the BCU?

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Post by RobMoffatt »

Because in order to become a coach I have to be a comprehensive member and then register. About £55.

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Post by Jay Oram »

What as the BCU done for us?
I have been with the BCU for two years and has given me CoDe, canoe focus and the links to websites and clubs i couldn't have got living in London with no water or clubs advertising there existence.
Is the new coaching scheme that bad?
I dont really know waht is going to happen on the 5 days training so i cant comment but the level of the coaches at my club isn't at the standard i would like as a beginner and as a coach have tried to rectify it. The new scheme will stop just getting qualifications to ramble on, but to actually coach.

Out of the coaches at the club there mostly know K.I.S.S and I.D.E.A.S but thats all and most dont use it.
Will it affect non-pro coaches?
only the bank balance - unless as in our area one volunteer goes as far up the coaching ladder as possible, atleast to assess L2 coaches and does the courses for as little cost as possible. (In the past it has only been registration fees sometimes)
Is the new developments not better for the development of the coaching sport and those that it will teach and protect?
I think it will be a better development but for a while it will affect the grass roots and beginners, by maybe having less coaches but more people to supervise.

Jay

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Post by cswalker »

RobMoffatt wrote:Because in order to become a coach I have to be a comprehensive member and then register. About £55.
There you go, they have done something for you:

Central registration
Verification that you meet the coaching requisites
Provision of a structured coaching scheme
Verification if needed for employers that you are suitably qualified and meet the standards set out by the coaching scheme
Liability insurance etc....

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Post by cp »

People are not just disheartened with the BCU about the coaching scheme. I have dropped out of the scheme due to all the reasons mentioned so far.
They are also disheartened due to the total lack of communication, lack of movement on issues such as access which affects all recreational paddlers , and a complete lack of transparency as to how much is given to competative padling compared to recreational.
I am still a member for insurance, discount at CT and retail outlets and the BWB licence but that is all. Every time I have tried to contact the BCU with issues I have been passed between people and no one wants to answer any questions, they issue statements but do not attempt to answer your queries. It is a closed shop and no one there wants to upset the ststus quo.
For me it would be unfair to say they have done nothing but I do feel they do very little for non competative paddling.
I think all the complaints are justified and to prove my point where is the BCU reply toshow they are wrong? I have given them every oppertunity to explian things to me but as I said no one wants to. To the point that I do not even bother to ask any more.

Chris

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Post by RobMoffatt »

cswalker wrote:
RobMoffatt wrote:Because in order to become a coach I have to be a comprehensive member and then register. About £55.
There you go, they have done something for you:

Central registration
Verification that you meet the coaching requisites
Provision of a structured coaching scheme
Verification if needed for employers that you are suitably qualified and meet the standards set out by the coaching scheme
Liability insurance etc....
Yes so I have got something from them recently, however they don't provide any other form of support or service. This would be fine if they simply stated that they were only there to support coaches and competitors but they continue to insist that they are supporting all paddlers. I would be much happier supporting the WCA, who have seem to have their heads switched on when it comes to access and providing information - I believe they are sorting out some free information packs for students in Wales with the help of Mr Laws. The BCU is only still in the black because they have coaches tied to them, other sports have much better organised coaching structures and are thriving at grass roots level as a result.

Edit: As Chris says where are the BCU? There is never a response or any information posted on here by the BCU, whereas the WCA seem to regularly ask questions and keep us informed. This is after all the largest concentration of enthusiastic paddlers in the UK.

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Post by cswalker »

That's fair enough. It is very sad to hear these things. I wonder why it is like this?

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Post by Jay Oram »

As Chris says where are the BCU?
Tamsin phipps normally posts on here, although normally on access. It's true that there sould be more interaction, ie. letters, an e-mail newsletter or just if someone from the BCU just occassionally had a look on the site.

Just a question though - has anyone raised this with the BCU - I know i haven't.

Jay

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Post by Wilf »

They possibly feel (ok, they feel) that no matter how well they explain whatever they have, how well they justify what has been done, some body on here will just argue the toss.

So, it is almost pointless them entereing into a discussion on here.

I was chatting with an well known and internationally respected paddling friend of mine the other day and he said he would not dream of entering discussion on here because of the argumentative nature of the forum.

He felt that people would argue black was white just for the sake of it.

Has anybody ever stopped to wonder why there is not more participation from those in the topmost shed?

You do get one or two national trainers posting on here, but that is about it. Why? Because in general, they get cheesed off with the people who refuse to listen to the REASONS they give for the actions taken.
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Post by ChrisS »

I put it to you that since black has no hue, and white has no hue, black is indeed white. Black is never totally non-reflective, and white is never totally reflective. So black is merely a dark shade of white, and white a lighter shade of black. QED.

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Post by quicky »

Just a question though - has anyone raised this with the BCU - I know I haven't.
Try Canoe england as the BCU is the umbrella organisation for all the different partd. SCA, WCA etc.

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Post by licklemarkie »

to start, Chris your argument is iterative (rather like the animals have four legs and tables have four legs so that tables must be animals, it assumes that one criteria defines something) and the variation between black and white is to do with what is measured as density or reflectance, how much light a 'colour' reflects so sadly I have to say that black isn't white.

and back to the topic, I have to sadly agree with the general consensus on this thread, I am a 4 star kayaker, a Scout Leader and member of a local canoe club, I have always been interested in coaching, partially to save Scouts money and to support my club, with all the new changes I have made the decision not to bother with coaching, it'll cost everyone around me money and I appreciate that may be selfish but I really don't have the time to commit to acheving a Level 2 coaching standard (which would really benefit Scouts and the canoe club). In part this is also due to the fact that I have never had sufficient access to an open canoe, which naturally seems as if it'd prevent me from being a coach at all.

I understand the BCU's standpoint on the need for change but I truthfully think that the changes will fundamentally harm the grass roots of the sports where frankly any knowledge is at best confused/downright contradictory. Up to my 3 star all my coaches were volunteers with other full time jobs to do, and it is those people most affected by the changes, the full times coaches will do well out of it, possibly making canoeing/kayaking more elitist by adding more financial cost to the coaching.

My big point of this whole rant is to say that actually the BCU needs to take the bull by the horns and mailshot all of its members with a crystal clear explantion of the system and tell those associated with the BCU what the hell is going on. then perhaps we night all be able to make an informed decision, then hopefully we can reorganise the system to keep kayaking as a 'growing watersport' rather than put nails in the coffin....

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egg on face as usual.....

Post by licklemarkie »

ok so I must have be mind read by someone at the BCU.
I have found the thread on confusion that links to the BCU performance awards flyer..... so before everyone flames me, I apologise on that count,
it still doesn't take away my anger towards the BCU on leaving it so long to do it and I'm not actually sure that I saved my copy but at least it is a available online. Along with the fact that I feel excluded from coaching due to the changes....
disgruntled of the home counties....

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Post by forestknights »

This forum does have a more abrasive approach to debate than some others i frequent.

However the points raised are valid. If the higher level coaches and members of staff at the BCU do not want to communicate effectively with the people that pay their wages i suggest they find alternative employment.

We the paddling community have a right to be properly consulted on changes that will undoubtedly effect them. i cannot see where the BCU or its employees have effectively communicated any of its policies.

I wonder how many purely voluntary members the BCU has.

Most people join for a EA license and 3rd party insurance or are coaches and therefore have to be members.

The BCU has done nothing to enhance my paddling. I have no interest in the GB team coming home with a medal or not.

I have no wish to join a club. i just want to be able to enjoy the peace of quietly paddling my boat.
Know the wisdom of patience during times of inactivity.

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Post by Rick Foster »

Name one thing they have done for me?

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Post by simao »

tape34 wrote: My main gripe with BCU is it's (apparent) lack of commitment to the recreational paddler and our greatest problem of access. If BCU is unable to lead the English access debate then they should encourage someone else to do so.
Pete Ball
i agree whole heartedly with this statement. i don't see any commitment from the bcu to the grass roots of paddling.

i too am not interested in whether the gb team come home with a medal or not. but i am sure that many are! but the point is that at the moment the BCU are making me FEEL that all they care about is the competetive side of the sport, be it slalom, ww racing, freestyle or professional coaches.

simao

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Post by tape34 »

bala boater wrote:Name one thing they have done for me?
Why, are you a member?

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