Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Coaches’ development and retainment

Grassroots development has always been and remains a fundamental step in building strong sporting communities. It is a cornerstone to develop new skills and enhance sport performance.  

At the root of grassroots development however lies the element of coaching. Coaches at grassroots level, though not commonly recognised, are critical to the development of future stars. Athletes, more especially at grassroots rely on coaches for effective guidance through technical and physical development to realise their potential.

This calls for more development and retainment of coaches at grassroots level. Sadly, in Botswana, both the development and retainment of coaches at this level has become an albatross.

Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president Malebo Raditladi- Nkgakile says they came to this realisation at the completion of the association’s Long Term Athlete Development plan (LTAD). It brought to them the realisation that they did not have trained coaches. 

This analysis became even more apparent through the legacy program from Netball South Africa (NSA) led by President Cecilia Molokwane. The latter stated that Botswana’s poor performance in netball was not due to lack of talent but rather coaches.  

With this in mind, NSA as part of its 2023 Netball World Cup Legacy programme has committed to help Botswana reclaim its lost glory. It has since seconded coach Jenny van Dyk to help. Aside from coaching the senior national netball team, van Dyk also has local coaches understudying her.

“The legacy program is helping us to train a much-needed group of coaches who will assist with grass root development programs. We will now have different level of coaches at different structures of BONA development programs,” Raditladi-Nkgakile says.

Under this arrangement, BONA now has trained 48 coaches on fundamental principles of coaching. Thirty two of these are beginner coaches while 16 are level one coaches. With the system now in place, each member affiliate will have different levels of teams within their structures. 

Raditladi-Nkgakile says as BONA seeks to reclaim its status as a netball powerhouse. “We need to have them developed the same way as athletes and umpires,” she says.

Business Development and Strategy Manager for Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), Baboni Kupe says coaches development is a critical component of their overall objective to improve athlete performance. She says the BNOC has identified coaches’ development, training and capacity building of sports personnel as a key objective in its strategic plan.

“Various initiatives aimed at upskilling technical personnel have been and continue to be put in place. This includes courses which were run during the last quadrennial period, between the years 2017-2020 as well as on-going courses; International Coaches Enrichment Programme (ICECP) 4 coaches have been trained, International Coaching Course (ICC) 3 have been trained, International Support Programme for African and Caribbean Sport (PAISAC) 3 coaches have been trained and Sport Specific Technical Courses (Volleyball Level I, Tennis Level I, Rugby Level II) 77 coaches trained,” she explains. 

While BNOC continues to train coaches, the responsibility of retaining them lies with the National Federations (NFs). This being that BNOC strives to utilise these resources during Games that are under their auspices such as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

Furthermore, Khupe says the commission is currently in the process of developing a Long-Term Coaches Development Framework. Notwithstanding, the BNOC continues to invest in coaches’ development. The commission is currently working on Expressions of Interest (EOI) for upcoming training opportunities for the year. These include the International Coaches Enrichment Programme (ICECP), International Coaching Course (ICC), International Support Programme for African and Caribbean Sport (PAISAC) as well as Sport Specific Technical Courses. She says the programmes are open to all codes. 

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