Monday, 5 March 2012

Report on MCofS Coaching Induction

Sunday the 4th March saw Scottish coaches descend on Perth High School for the first MCofS Coaches Gathering & Induction.  The event was attended by coaches, who are active within the varied Scottish Youth Development scene, as well as Area Youth Coordinators.  The ethos of this event was to provide an opportunity for professionals to come together and share ideas, observe coaching techniques & discuss up and coming initiatives the MCofS aim to deliver over the coming months.  The gathering also served as an opportunity to introduce the current 3 tier MCofS Youth Coaching Structure [Aspirant Coach, Assistant Coach & Full Coach], outlining the job descriptions of each post & explaining the pathways [i.e. shadowing & training] in place to progress through the structure.  

The day kicked off with talks from;
  • Tony McClelland [Head of Outdoor Education - Perth High School].  Discussing the story of climbing within the school set up.  Explaining how the came about obtaining such a great climbing facility & how this has grown in to one of the most successful regional climbing development initiatives in Scotland.
  • Neil McGeachy [ReAch Coaching & MCofS Scottish Team Coach].  Discussing the roles of MCofS, its coaches & setters in the development of Scottish Team members.  Also discussing the MCofS Youth Development Ethos of promoting increased pathways in to the outdoors for climbers of all levels and ages.  Aiming to promote varied and active life long futures within the sport for our country's young climbers.
  • Neill Busby [MCofS British Team Representative].  Discussing how MCofS works to help nurture & support our country's elite young climbers.  He talked about coaching support, previous & current success stories & future ambitions.

These talks provided a great over view of how healthy all levels of youth development within Scottish climbing are.  They also illustrated how well these levels serve in supporting each other and provide clear logical support pathways in the climbing journey;  
  • Numbers are up in all Scottish competitions, 
  • Regional youth clubs and performance squads are popping up all over the place, 
  • The school climbing competitions scene is growing massively and beginning to feed the Youth Climbing Series
  • Outdoor Real Rock Initiatives are being better attended than ever
  • We have enjoyed an 8 year period of producing many of the UK's most successful International competitors.  Currently holding 9 slots on the British Junior Climbing Squad.

This continued growth and development means more than ever we need a diverse and extensive pool of MCofS performance coaches to draw from & also require a strategy in place to begin the process of bringing through future coaches & making the whole set up more sustainable long term.  This Gathering & Induction was the beginning of this process.

After the talks the coaches were given time to study the hand outs provided on 'Training guidelines for YCS Finalists'.  These documents offered info on MCofS & ReAch's stance on appropriate training & injury avoidance when coaching young performance climbers.  The day then progressed to a series of short coaching workshops delivered by a selection of assistant coaches & full coaches on the MCofS coaching program.

Coaching Workshops Delivered;
Pamela Miller - Coaching route reading & sequence memory 
Neill Busby - Balance & body positioning on steep ground
Ian Sneddon - Variety of uses of Add on in coaching
Natalie Berry - Competition Tactics
Ross Kirkland - Activities for coaching precise footwork
Ross Hunter - Using video analysis in coaching
Neil McGeachy - Coaching momentum & advance balance techniques

The day rounded up with an opportunity for every one to have a group discussion on the role of coaching within youth development & how we can build on the success the current set up.  All in all today was a great success and as a member of the MCofS coaching team for more than 12 years, it was extremely rewarding to see so many of the aspirants, assistants & coaches in attendance being young climbers who have progressed through the set up as talented climbers themselves.  Thus showing the on going culture of Scottish Climbers putting something back into the development of the sport.  Very exciting times lies ahead.

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)