10.Nov.11 Plymouth schools athletes benefit from unique partnership working
For a number of years the primary schools of Plymouth have taken part in a series of Sportshall athletics events, after school at several city venues, and the winners of each of these heats have qualified for a hotly contested final.
This has been organised by the Sir John Hunt School Sports Partnership (now relaunched as the Plymouth SSP). For the past few years the Armada Network has been involved in assisting with the organisation by providing officiating training for leaders and also ensuring every competitor has details of all the athletic clubs across the area. This initiative has brought many new athletes into the clubs and many have gone on to compete in the Devon County Sportshall league and also in Regional events.
This year the SSP and Armada have embarked on a new partnership with UCP Marjon whereby students on a Sports Development and Coaching degree course have been trained in the UKA Academy Sportshall modules for event management and officiating by Lance Chatfield from the SSP and Keith Reed from Armada. This training took place at the Marjon site and in return the University have given their facilities free for the final in February 2012. The students have gained a host of new skills and have been given an introduction to the coaching, officiating and event management tools required to run a Sportshall event.
The students have worked in teams of four and each team has been allocated a Sportshall event across the city. They have the responsibility of organising the event on the day which means they have had to set up the equipment, liaise with the host school, train and allocate Sports leaders to the events, meet and greet the teams and run the whole event within tight time constraints. The first few events have now taken place and so far it has gone really well.
The student’s responsibility does not end there however, because they also have to work with the winning school from their event over the coming weeks to improve that team’s athletic skills in preparation for the final. This is being done in conjunction with coaches from the Armada Network clubs who will run sessions in the schools as agreed with the students. The students have been able to apply for funding to cover the coach costs including a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch to senior lecturers at the University.
Speaking about the initiative, Armada Network co-ordinator Keith Reed said, “It is proving to be a fantastic way of bringing together a very established event and training new prospective sports coaches, officials and administrators of the future in a very ‘hands on’ way. The other major benefit is that the schools will get access to expert coaching from UKA accredited coaches, thus improving the standard of performances and also linking more with the clubs. We are very grateful to UCP Marjon and, of course, Lance Chatfield from the Plymouth SSP who have devised such a unique partnership where everybody wins. We hope that this continue for years to come.”
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