Revolutionary Coaching System Introduced By MSA

by James Charman

The MSA has made major progress in its new coaching structure for UK motor sport after ten individuals were officially qualified as motor sport coaches.

Pat Blakeney, Phil Glew, Jonny Kane, Calum Lockie, Tim Mullen, John Pratt, Oliver Rowland, Duncan Tappy, Jamie Wall and Danny Watts all completed the four-day MSA Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Performance in Motor Sport at Mercedez-Benz World in Surrey.

The award is part of the MSA’s plans to develop a revolutionary new coaching infrastructure alongside accredited qualifications body 1st4Sport in line with the UK Coaching Certificate framework. The MSA was keen to introduce the new credentials after other sports had proven that just being good at the sport does not necessarily make you a good coach.

“There are a number of reasons why we are introducing this coaching framework,” explained Director of Development and Communications for the MSA, Ben Taylor. “Firstly, it will raise standards across the board and provide a level of consistency that ensures a good experience for everyone at whatever level. Secondly, it’s about introducing an understanding of the role of coaching within our sport that will have a significant impact on our ability to create future champions.

“Thirdly, there’s a liability position. As the governing body of UK motor sport, the MSA has a duty of care to ensure that those responsible for coaching others are properly trained, assessed and accredited. And finally, there is a political benefit in that it puts the MSA and motor sport on the same footing as other governing bodies, which is essential if we are to confirm our place as a major sport.”

To help put the new framework in place the MSA has been working with Professor Dave Collins, who was previously the Performance Director for UK Athletics. Together they have worked out two Level 2 awards, one focusing on performance, the other on participation, along with an entry level ‘Introduction to Motor Sport Coaching’ designed for delivery in one day for clubs and colleges.

“Other sports certainly have more of a tradition in coaching but, in some ways, that gives us an advantage as we’re starting with a clean sheet of paper,” said Collins. “While working within the constraints of a qualifications body, this fresh start has allowed us to be pretty innovative when creating these certificates. It’s all about helping people understand the science of how to coach rather than just passing on their personal experiences.”

“It was a very steep learning curve but very worthwhile – I’ve learnt things that I wish I learned 20 years ago as it would have made my career as a driver coach much, much easier,” said Pat Blakeney, chairman elect of ARDS, the Association of Racing Drivers Schools, and Group Operations Manager at Thruxton Circuit.“There’s a big difference between coaches and instructors but for anyone wanting to take coaching seriously this will be an essential tool for them to have in their toolbox.”

“I got such a lot out of it,” concluded Le Mans class winner Watts. “When I’m not racing, all I do is coach – so this has been invaluable for me. It also means I’m officially recognised now.”

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