England Netball Coach.

The mission of UK Coaching Week 2023 is to educate people about the critical role of Duty to Care in coaching and its impact on the nation’s health and wellbeing.

This year’s theme reflects the importance of coaches putting people – their safety, wellbeing and welfare – at the centre of their coaching practice and learning how to better care for their participants, as well as themselves.

Back in 2021, Performance Coach Developer Sarah Green and UK Coaching Coach Developer Jen Coady spoke about how we can promote good mental health through our coaching practice and behaviours.

UK Coaching has therefore launched a new hub of resources to provide extensive learning and support for the nation’s 3 million coaches, who have found themselves under increasing pressure following a number of high-profile athlete abuse investigations across major sports.

The Duty to Care Hub and Digital Badge is intended to galvanise the coaching workforce to fulfil its obligations around the education and provision of duty to care and to increase coaches’ confidence and put their own welfare, as well as the safety of their participants, at the centre of their coaching.

Mark Gannon, UK Coaching CEO, said: “We are proud to be launching Duty to Care as part of UK Coaching Week. Following a number of high-profile investigations into safety and culture in sport, it has never been more important for us to support coaches and advocate Duty to Care for all.

“As the leading voice of coaches across the UK, it is our responsibility to advocate for a care system in sport that protects everyone, and commit to creating equitable and inclusive environments within coaching and all forms of sport and physical activity delivery. Our Hub of learning is helping to ensure this is put into practice, by helping coaches build the right knowledge and behaviours to make a lasting difference to the lives of those they coach. What we’re asking is for coaches to lead by example and embody the values of Duty to Care in everything they do.”

The Hub will include guidance and resources on the topics of Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Safeguarding and Safe to Practice that will help coaches grow their skills, knowledge and behaviours to tackle pressing welfare issues in physical activity and sport with confidence. Additional elements include concussion, mental health support, online safety for children, the stigma surrounding menstruation and LGBT+ inclusion.

In 2019, as part of nationwide consultation for England Netball’s new 10-year Adventure Strategy, it was strongly felt that the national governing body should act beyond the court to support women and girls at every life stage and every life age.

Working with The Well HQ, the female health experts, with funding support from Sport England, NETBALLHer was launched to enable everyone in netball and beyond, to better understand, nurture and support women and girls. By educating our staff, coaches, officials and volunteers to create environments where females can train and compete irrespective of what their changing body throws at them, we will collectively improve experiences, fostering a sense of belonging that could reduce drop out and increase the number of females playing across the different life stages.

A dedicated NetballHER website has been created where anyone can access expert resources for free. This includes real stories and support from leading experts to understand female bodies. Topics include pelvic health, menopause, the menstrual cycle and bras and kit with more to come on pre- and post-natal, injury and puberty. In addition, a series of detailed CPD courses will be launched this summer on puberty, young women, pre- and post-natal and menopause.

First class netball experiences happen through great coaching – that’s why we need coaches across the game that inspire, grow, develop and retain netballers in all the places where netball happens. For whatever the reasons are that enthuse and excite you about coaching – whether you are taking your first steps or looking to progress your journey – take a look at the options here.

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