The benefits of supporting other trainee coaches

As well as training to be a CiRF myself, I’m helping another trainee with his sessions. Martin is a fellow Lordshillers and is on the same course as myself. Due to other commitments, he’s not been able to secure the time of a Support Coach for every session he’s coached to date so I offered to help out when I can. 
I’ve attended two of his sessions so far. The first was the Flying 30s session a couple of weeks ago and last night’s session which was a pyramid session where the technical skill was bringing the heel up to your bum when running at speed. 
Although I’m not a qualified coach as yet, I think I’m able to provide some useful feedback to Martin based on the experience I’ve had of coaching my own sessions.
I’m also very grateful to fellow trainee CiRF Gary for his help with some of my sessions. Cheers mate!
Martin sent me his ‘session plan’ a couple of days in advance of the session for review. It was very detailed which was great. The idea is if you have a detailed plan, you can pass the session plan onto a Coaching Assistant or another Coach in order that they can hold the session in your absence. Having spotted a couple of improvements that could be made to the plan, I fed these back.
Monday evening arrived and I cycled the 5 miles to Taunton’s College ready for the session. (Roger, this, along with running a couple of km, is the reason I was stretching at the end of the session!)
My role during the sessions is to support Martin and do what he wants me to do. This was simply to observe the session, offer any suggestions to him and provide feedback at the end of the session. As such, I don’t need to coach any of the session myself or intervene in the session. I don’t think the members of the group that Martin was coaching were necessarily aware of my role so it may well have looked like I was just loitering! I certainly wasn’t participating as a runner in the session and had struggled to keep up on the warmup!
Martin did a great job during the session but I was able to provide a few pointers along the way which he incorporated as soon as he was able. That seemed to work well so hopefully my involvement was useful. 
A side-effect of helping support another trainee coach is to plagiarise ideas from their sessions. We were told that this was a useful coaching skill and one I’m trying to use to my advantage 😉 Ultimately, if we can all learn from each other and pick out the best ways of coaching from each other, we’ll all benefit as will those that we are coaching. 
I personally think that by the end of September, we’ll have a great new set of CiRFs within the club ( myself excluded 😉 ). I also think that the club offers an incredible package to club members of Run Leader-led sessions and now additional coached sessions for an incredibly reasonable annual subscription of £15 plus affiliation fee. The introduction of more opportunities for sessions including group strength and conditioning circuits within sessions is a major benefit to membership in my view.
I’m investing a good few hours each week training to be a Coach (as well as doing shed-loads of printing and laminating) and if you’re considering becoming a CiRF, it’s worth factoring in the time it takes to attend the 4 days of the course, the time taken to plan sessions, hold the sessions themselves, obtain feedback etc and the time spent increasing personal knowledge of running technique, anatomy, strength and conditioning, technical knowledge regarding energy systems and how to train for these such that we can coach with confidence and authority. 
I’m sure that you could pass the course with far less work than I’m putting in but the investment I’m putting in will hopefully make me a better coach in the long run. 
The decision to try to become a CiRF shouldn’t be taken lightly but, so far at least, I’ve found it really interesting and rewarding. 

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