My Placement With GSC

27th March 2018

I am a Sports student from Guernsey studying Sports Psychology and Coaching Science BSc (hons) at Bournemouth University. I attended local schools La Houguette, La Mare High and Grammar Sixth Form Centre.

I have completed my first 2 years in Bournemouth and as part of my course I am required to do a 30 week placement within the sports industry. This takes place within the 3rd year and is compulsory for everyone on the course. It is regarded as an important element of the degree as it gives you the opportunity to gain a large amount of experience before completion of the 4th year and heading off into the world of work.

My placement has been split between Education Services and Guernsey Sports Commission. During my time with the Sports Commission I have been involved with a variety of different roles and responsibilities. I have had the opportunity to see how the charity works and what it offers to the local community.

I’ve been able to work alongside different members of the team and assist them in coaching and teaching P.E. lessons within the primary schools. It has given me the chance see multiple different types of sports taught across all the year groups. The programmes I have been involved in include:

P.E. in Schools programme for year 3 and 4 pupils – provides a taster a variety of sports for each term (e.g. Spring term- Volleyball, Tennis, Tri-Golf);
PPA (Planning Preparation and Assessment) P.E. – these are P.E. sessions that are delivered during teacher PPA time. They are for different age groups depending on how the school has allocated their PPA time. This can be from Reception up to year 6; and
Fit clubs – Offered at lunchtime and after school catering for either year 1 and 2 or year 3 and 4. A range of different games and sports are delivered.

In addition I have been part of the On Your Marks team during February half term. This allowed me to work with young people from secondary school age groups as well as primary. I found that it was interesting to see how sessions are tailored to suit the different age groups and how GSC makes it inclusive for a wider range of age groups participating at the same time.

During my placement I have gained vital coaching skills by shadowing/helping in the practical sessions. I have also had the opportunity to help with handling and inputting data in a research project. The project collated information on how teacher’s perceived their pupil’s ability in physical activity linking to whether they have a growth or fixed mind-set.

GSC coaches a wide range of sports across the year groups and which has provided me with broad experience which may be difficult to find elsewhere. It has given me the chance to apply some of my learning from University in a practical setting.

Having the chance to see different members of the team coaching has been interesting as they each have their own styles and use techniques to engage participation. Along with their different ways of delivery and their methods of group management I have learnt a lot, such as using positive reinforcement for those which are listening instead of drawing attention to the ones that aren’t listening.

I feel I have definitely gained in confidence throughout my time with GSC and am happy to lead and explain activities. My leadership and communication skills have improved and I have been able to reduce the amount of time spent explaining as I grew in competence. My time keeping has improved as you have to know how long to keep the activities running, when to change taggers, when to add progressions etc. I also have learnt to use the children when demonstrating an activity, as some individuals learn more visually.

I have tried to become less autocratic (do as I say) with my coaching and more democratic. This means allowing the pupils to work out and understand activities for themselves. It helps engage the class as they are getting to voice their own opinion and helps them to understand the reasons for doing certain things.

There have also been situations where you may have challenging individuals or children with different needs. With advice from the team and help I have had to use my initiative to keep them engaged/involved and adapt activities accordingly.

The skills and techniques I’ve learnt during my time with GSC will be useful in whatever career path I end up taking, such as confidence in talking in front of a group of individuals and being able to use my initiative to facilitate the needs of everyone in a group.

Being able to coach a wide range of different types of sports and physical activity sessions has given me a catalogue of ideas of games and activity I can use in any future coaching. I feel I have gained enough knowledge to be able to plan and lead a session in whatever sport, through adapting games to make sure they include sport specific skills. In my future coaching, I will definitely use the ‘no outs’ strategy to ensure children remain involved in the activity. I like how they always tailor the session plans to ensure everyone is moving as much as possible and avoid too much waiting around in lines, listening to instructions, etc. I will definitely try to always give clear concise quick instruction to maximise playing time.

The use of a clear stop signal or sign is definitely important for a coach and GSC use the ‘high fives’. Where the coach says high five with their arm in the air and the group responds by stopping what they’re doing copying the action and freezing so they are ready to listen to the next instruction. Using something like this maybe better than using a whistle in some situation as it’s engaging and makes it feel less like a competitive sport situation.

GSC gives a ‘player of the day’ reward throughout the weeks at each school. This is chosen by the coaches (from GSC), and a teacher/teaching assistant looking after the class. Whoever wins player of the day receives a sticker and this acts as an incentive for the group to try their best and listen throughout the session. I think it is a good idea as it is not always given to the person who performs the skill well, but also those who might not be as confident and those who are helping and encouraging other members of the class.

GSC is very good at encouraging everyone to try their hardest and not give up or worrying if things go wrong. I feel that their philosophy to make sure everyone gets an equal opportunity and chance to give things a go regardless of background and ability is really positive. This along with many other beliefs and attitudes the charity hold I believe should be a fundamental backbone for any coach.