Leeds Beckett workshops to help tackle physical inactivity in Ireland
Sergio Lara-Bercial, Senior Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett, has just returned from delivering a two-day tutor training programme in Limerick, Ireland. The Irish tutor attendees will now deliver the newly-developed series of four workshops to coaches of children all over Ireland.
Recent research has shown that only 12% of Irish children are meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes a day. Most importantly though, the majority of those who achieve the target are doing it not through school, but in community clubs led mostly by volunteer coaches. Recognising this situation, Coaching Ireland, Sport Ireland’s coaching department, commissioned Leeds Beckett to develop a suite of workshops to support coaches working with children across the country.
The workshops, developed by Sergio Lara-Bercial, provided coaches with the knowledge and skills to ensure that children’s experiences of sport are positive and rewarding and set them on a path of lifelong participation with all the benefits that carries at a physical, mental and personal level.
Each workshop has a different theme. Workshop 1 focused on understanding what children want and need from sport and how we provide for it. Workshop 2 was set around children’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social development and the impact this has on the way they are coached and interacted with. Workshop 3 revolved around the development of the basic fundamental movement skills which children need to successfully take part in physical activity and sport. Finally, workshop 4 provided an understanding of how children learn and proposes a games-based approach to coaching children.
The workshops were very positively received by coaches and tutors and will be delivered over the next few months to hundreds of coaches across Ireland in what is the biggest coaching programme developed by Coaching Ireland in recent times.
Speaking about the programme, Sergio commented: “We are very proud to have had this opportunity to work with Coaching Ireland and Sport Ireland in a programme of workshops which could really be a game changer for youth sport. The coaches and tutors we have worked with have been very enthusiastic about it and are an incredibly committed group of people. They will make it happen.”
Sheelagh Quinn, Coaching Administration Manager for Coaching Ireland, added: “Coaching Ireland is delighted to work with Sergio and Leeds Becket University on this important development in children's coaching. Children’s needs in sport are different to the needs of other populations, therefore the children’s coaches need to be equipped with specific knowledge, skills and competencies to fulfil their needs.”
Tennis Coach and Tutor Jamie Stafford, who attended the workshops, said: “It was a real pleasure to spend the weekend surrounded by like-minded people. The enthusiasm in the room was unbelievable and the content of the course is highly informative and will make a big difference.”