COACHING: Huge boost for CS as 14 coaches become fully qualified

In 2011, British Cycling issued a directive regarding the issue of “coaching riders with less than two brakes attached to their bikes”.  In a nut shell what this meant was that if a coach did not hold a discipline specific level 2 qualification (in our case Cycle Speedway), they would not be covered by BC insurance, when coaching Cycle Speedway. (Coaching Guidelines 7.7 & 8.5).

This re-enforcing of the ruling sent shock waves through the sport, especially amongst level 1 and level 2 coaches who would not be covered by BC public liability insurance.

The reaction from members at the time was to criticise the sport’s National Governing Body, and lay blame solely at their door for the lack of qualified coaches within our sport.

The Cycle Speedway Commission took a different view.

Since the sport began, somewhere around 1947, a total of 64 cycle speedway personnel have attended a recognised coaching course, i.e. club, level 1, level 2 and cycle speedway specific. As of October 2015, out of these 64, the sport had only 6 fully qualified coaches plus 4 more who were compliant with up to date first aid qualification.

As of the other 53, some had either not completed their level 2 course or were no longer members or were not compliant with first aid, CRB or safeguarding.

The commission set up a work group whose task was to work closely with British Cycling Coaching and Education to try to encourage as many new and unqualified coaches to complete their outstanding course work and become fully compliant.

In the meantime, the workgroup negotiated a provisional licence with BC which would last for one year and which would enable “coaches” within the sport to continue their activities.

The workgroup then set about targeting the coaches within the regions, who were still active within the sport, and offered support to enable them to complete their level 2 qualification.

This would have not been possible without the professional approach from the BC Coach and Education team, who provided support from re-registration to completion of Level 2 as well as access to safeguarding courses and DBS checks.

A lot of work was done to support coaches in the completion of their tasks for Level 2, to be in a position to attend a cycle speedway specific course, and it was a success.

A discipline specific course was set up to run on Saturday 29th October 2016. Normally, discipline specific courses take place over two days and cost £195, plus overnight accommodation costs.

The workgroup and BC coaching staff reviewed the original course, revising course content, resources and tasks, and making content available on-line before the one day event. The pilot course was delivered at a significantly reduced price to coaches.

14 level 2 coaches were in attendance at Wednesfield on Saturday October 29th, these being:

Chas Whalley, Kevin Wells, Jamie Medler, Joe Holloren, Emily Morton, Ray Pyke, Bill Brooke, Phil Clarke, Myke Grimes, Les Fellgett, Peter Ingram, Will Evans, Richard Smith and Lee Aris.

Lee becomes the first national team manager with a full coaching qualification.

This takes the total of fully qualified cycle speedway coaches up to 20.

Another course has been pencilled in for March 2017, when it’s expected to have another 8 coaches in attendance.  This initiative will be ongoing into the future with the aim being to eventually having at least one fully qualified coach at every Cycle Speedway club.

In the meantime, the commission and the work group are in talks with BC to try to get an extension to the provisional licence for another year, for the remaining unqualified coaches within the sport, but this will probably be the last time this concession is allowed.

The commission will also be seeking that the “no brake rule” be re-visited by British Cycling and their insurers.

So, a result all round – with many thanks to Bob Prince, John Burston, Phil Clarke and Stuart Raven for all their efforts on behalf of the sport.

Special thanks and appreciation to Patricia Quirke, Rob Mace, Chris Booth and Adrian Fox of British Cycling’s Coach and Education department who have made all this possible.

Gallery: Pictures from Saturday’s CS Discipline Specific Coaching Course

If you’re interested in becoming a Cycle Speedway coach, please email – funding may be available to your club through the Go-Ride scheme.