WAG Training/Certification for coaches

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ayyyrial

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Saw this thread in the Parents forum and I wanted to bring it over here for general discussion.

What kind of training, personnel development, or certification is required for coaches at your gym? What is offered? Is it too much, too little, or right? Related - what kind of gymnastics/acro background do coaches have (especially rec coaches)?

At the gym I coach at (USA), the only formal certification that is required is an in-person training on CPR, and a few online trainings on identifying and reporting child abuse. There is some haphazard on-the-job training where a new coach will shadow someone experienced for a month or so, but it's not very formal and there are problems like only ever shadowing for one type of class, but then being assigned to a class for a different age group or skill set. Sometimes if there are very few coaches available, you won't get a chance to shadow at all and will be teaching by yourself right away.

This can be a problem because they don't always hire rec coaches with gymnastics experience due to high turnover. Some coaches have cheerleading or dance backgrounds, but some don't really have anything related. Other have very limited gymnastics experience (i.e. taking gymnastics classes when they were 7). I think this can work OK with, for example, some co-workers who are good with little kids and teach pre-schoolers, when there isn't too much technical gymnastics going on anyway.

The lack of a training system is a big sore point for me right now because I coach a couple of classes that are quite large (10-12 pre-schoolers) so we are supposed to have two coaches. But the second coach right now is a guy who is still "shadowing" and has little gymnastics experience, and is not very proactive in terms of trying to learn or help me even when I assign him something specific to do. So I'm dealing with 12 helpless five-year-olds and a helpless 20-year-old on top of it....

I'm wondering if this is the norm in the U.S. or what type of on-the-job training and experience is required for rec coaches at other gyms.
 

raenndrops

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At our gym, there are 4 USAG Professional members that are coaches. A few of our rec coaches are parents of gymnasts. We have several junior coaches that competed for us … some as high as L7 / High School and others that competed through old L6 and / or Xcel Gold.
All of the junior coaches shadowed for AT LEAST a month (spending some time with each level of rec) before being allowed to take a class on their own… but they often work in pairs, even in small classes. Many of the junior coaches have experience in cheer and / or dance in addition to their gymnastics training.
All coaches are CPR and First Aid trained. They are all trained in concussion protocol. They take a version of Gymnastics 101 from USAG. Spotting / shaping is taught by the HC using hands-on methods. Expectations based on age / development are discussed and there can be a "pop quiz" by HC at any time (our baby and preschool classes do NOT do any bridging … and in our first level of rec classes for ages 5and up, the smaller girls are evaluated to make sure their arms are long enough to even attempt a bridge… and first bridges are spotted … and continue to be spotted if the gymnast tries to rest on her head).
To coach part of team (other than just supervising a group in a hands-off capacity), the coach has to have had spotting training for the level being coached - i.e. To coach at L3, coach needs to be able to spot BHS, pullover, FHC, shoot thru, mill circle, BHC, and beam HS and dismount.
 

Splash123

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At my gym (south west UK) all coaches bar a few are either current gymnasts or ex-gymnasts (most of which are from our club originally) but we do have a few parents that coach rec. all coaches over 16 that take classes or parts of classes alone are required to have enhanced DBS checks. And if you didn't have one when you were 16/17 you have to have one regardless to work at the gym when you are 18+. Our young current gymnasts that occasionally work as assistant coaches don't have any formal training but they are working alongside an experienced/qualifies coach and don't support any dangerous skills alone. The coaches that just take rec are required to do either a proficiency award scheme coaching course or level 0/1 (depends on age as they have min age requirements) development/team coaches must be level 1. Level 2 to take sessions alone without a second coach. Elite coaches have to be minimum of level 2. But mini elite coaches can be level 1 (me currently). Most coaches go on emergency first aid / first response courses and all coaches that are contracted by the gym and take responsibility for groups are required to go on a safeguarding course shortly after starting.
All coaches have to have BG membership (works as insurance) like the gymnasts. Bronze for proficiency/level 0. Silver for level 1. Gold or life membership for level 2+.

ETA. Also in the UK the first main qualification (level 0) only qualifies you to spot on floor and vault. You have to have another coach with you spotting to do bars or beam
 

Aussie_coach

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In Australia, all coaches must hold a coaching qualification, to be allowed on the floor at any Australian Gymnastics club. The first step is to get you beginners coaching certificate. You must first complete an online course, then you do a face to face course, which is done on one day for 8 hours. From there you can start coaching at a basic level under full supervision.

You have to have a coach who is a qualified supervisor on the floor with you while you coach, and you can only coach up to about a level 2 standard. You only need to be a minimum of 14 years old to acquire this.

From here you work towards your Intermediate coaches certificate. For this yiu have to do a work book with your supervisor from the gym, an online course about general coaching and then another online course in the specific gymsports you wish to pursue, ie WAG, MAG etc. then you do another face to face course on your chosen gymsports and voila you become an intermediate coach. The minimum age for this is 16.

Intermediate coaches can also only coach up to about a level 2 or 3 standard but they can coach independently and don't need a supervising coach near by at all times. You can hold multiple coaching certificates in different gymsports.

After this you can work towards your advanced coaching certificate, which is a more complex process. More online courses, assignments. Face to face courses. The advanced course is a minimum of 17 years of age (in reality an advanced coach this young would be exeedingly rare) and these coaches can coach higher level skills.

The next qualification is Advanced Silver and you achieve this by completing a FIG course.

Every year you need to get a certain number of updating points to maintain your accreditation. Beginner coaches need 3, intermediate and advanced coaches need 6. You can attain points by completing online courses, attending congress and face to face courses, coaching with a higher level coach, attending workshops and so on.
 
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Splash123

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In Australia, all coaches must hold a coaching qualification, to be allowed on the floor at any Australian Gymnastics club. The first step is to get you beginners coaching certificate. You must first complete an online course, then you do a face to face course, which is done on one day for 8 hours. From there you can start coaching at a basic level under full supervision.

You have to have a coach who is a qualified supervisor on the floor with you while you coach, and you can only coach up to about a level 2 standard. You only need to be a minimum of 14 years old to acquire this.

From here you work towards your Intermediate coaches certificate. For this yiu have to do a work book with your supervisor from the gym, an online course about general coaching and then another online course in the specific gymsports you wish to pursue, ie WAG, MAG etc. then you do another face to face course on your chosen gymsports and voila you become an intermediate coach. The minimum age for this is 16.

Intermediate coaches can also only coach up to about a level 2 or 3 standard but they can coach independently and don't need a supervising coach near by at all times. You can hold multiple coaching certificates in different gymsports.

After this you can work towards your advanced coaching certificate, which is a more complex process. More online courses, assignments. Face to face courses. The advanced course is a minimum of 17 years of age (in reality an advanced coach this young would be exeedingly rare) and these coaches can coach higher level skills.

The next qualification is Advanced Silver and you achieve this by completing a FIG course.

Every year you need to get a certain number of updating points to maintain your accreditation. Beginner coaches need 3, intermediate and advanced coaches need 6. You can attain points by completing online courses, attending congress and face to face courses, coaching with a higher level coach, attending workshops and so on.

This is very similar to the UK coaching qualifications with BG. Age 14 you can do level 0 (not a required level) Age 16 you can do level 1. Age 18 and holding a level 1 qualification you can do level 2. Then you just have to hold the previous qualification to do the next one
 

gymyogimom

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Is an 8 hour online course comprehensive course better than on the job training? I'm just wondering how "course" training differs from on the job training.
 

Iwannabemargo

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I suspect a lot of training is online in Australia due to the vast distances and sparse population.

My eldest is completing his GB Level 1 training. He is mentored at a club, has completed a 2 day training course and after 6 months on the job training has to do another course and assessment. He is then qualified to be an assistant coach. Higher qualifications require longer courses and logged hours of mentored training.

The courses run in partnership with mentored club training, but ensure that candidates have to show a minimum ability to coach at that level in order to pass the exam.
 

Aussie_coach

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Is an 8 hour online course comprehensive course better than on the job training? I'm just wondering how "course" training differs from on the job training.

The 8 hour course is not online. First you need to complete a course online, and then once it is completed you are eligible to attend the 8 hour face to face course. This is hands on training and coaching practice. From there you must coach directly with a supervisor until you move up to being an intermediate level coach.

So our coaches do get a lot of direct on the job training, the difference is that it is compulsory.
 

Jenny

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Is an 8 hour online course comprehensive course better than on the job training? I'm just wondering how "course" training differs from on the job training.

It is not on line and it takes way way way more than 8 hours. It takes months but once you have it , it is a nationally recognised qualification. Even the first one is 2 full days in a gym with full training about the moves you will be allowed to coach. There are also technical exams and log books (things like exemplar planning, safety, ethics, biomechanics, etc etc )to complete and a practical exam where you coach a small group of gymnasts on a given set of moves in front of an BG assessor. You have to pass all of them to hold the qualification.
 

Aussie_coach

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I suspect a lot of training is online in Australia due to the vast distances and sparse population.

My eldest is completing his GB Level 1 training. He is mentored at a club, has completed a 2 day training course and after 6 months on the job training has to do another course and assessment. He is then qualified to be an assistant coach. Higher qualifications require longer courses and logged hours of mentored training.

The courses run in partnership with mentored club training, but ensure that candidates have to show a minimum ability to coach at that level in order to pass the exam.

Hehe, It is not really like that. We have a big country but most of it has no one living there.

We actually have to do a lot less travel than people in places like the USA, because 90% of our population live in Urban areas centred around a relatively small number major cities. 2/3 of the population actually live in Captial cities.

Only part of the courses are online. The idea is that when you attend the face to face courses you come in with a bit of background already learned.
 
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Iwannabemargo

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Sorry, my experience of Oz is limited to Neighbours, Home and Away (never watched that much) Flying Doctors, Bondi Rescue and Bondi Vet!
 
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