Response to the new NCAS Program
The ABF has received varying feedback over the past couple of weeks in response to the recently updated National Coach Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) program. The ABF welcomes the receipt of feedback and in order to provide adequate response to this feedback, the ABF's Manager of Player and Coach Development, Peter Gahan, provides further information relating to the implementation of the revised NCAS program.
Responses to new NCAS scheme:
Please find below the various rationale behind the introduction of the new NCAS scheme:
1. Coaches can be sued in some situations when an injury occurs.
2. One major reason that the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has developed the online General Principles Course is so that coaches can educate and protect themselves on the legal issues.
3. The ABF is using this as part of its accreditation scheme for the same reason.
4. Other aspects of the accreditation scheme are designed to implement the use of current baseball coaching and player development practices throughout the sport in
5. We recognise that some current coaches will decide that it’s too much trouble and walk away from coaching, but to provide a watered down scheme would not be addressing the critical issues which have entered into sport over the last decade or two.
6. So a coach will have to decide to become part of the new scheme, or cease coaching. It is unfortunate that things have reached this stage, but changes in the broader society mean that there is no option.
7. This is not a matter of passing the buck; it’s quite the opposite. Both the ASC and the ABF are attempting to provide a solution to an increasingly complex problem. This solution necessitates effort form the coach, and I can only hope that a good percentage of the many volunteers who provide this valuable service to our kids will choose to bite the bullet and support the process.
8. Claims that the ABF is trying to damage country baseball are way off the mark, but non-metropolitan areas are not immune to the problems which may arise from an inadequate scheme.
For those who would like more explanation:
1. The world is different now to what it used to be. Specifically, we live in a society where people are willing to sue, and the world of amateur sport and volunteer coaches is not immune to this. No matter what age or playing level you coach at, there is always the chance that you may expose yourself to legal liability in some form or another. Once accredited, as long as you try to adhere to what you learn through the accreditation process, you operate under the protection of the ABF and the ASC. If you have never heard the horror stories about coaches losing their homes etc, then all I can say is that you are not aware of the risks you are taking as a coach. Similarly, an executive who permit an unaccredited individual to coach in their club may also be exposed to risk.
2. The ASC, taking its responsibility to protect sports and coaches seriously, has addressed this issue (among others) by implementing the Coach Accreditation Scheme. More specifically, it has developed an online General Principles course so that coaches can educate themselves on the duty of care, negligence and all the legal issues, to an acceptable level. Sensibly, it is a requirement that all coach accreditation schemes must include the completion of this course (or a face-to-face equivalent) as part of the process before a coach can be accredited at any level. The ASC also expects that the sport will strive to keep the sport-specific and assessment portions of their Accreditation scheme consistent with current best practice.
3. The ABF also takes seriously its duty to protect its coaches, and its accountability to the ASC, so we have made the General Principles online course a requirement. We do not have the resources to develop an alternate version which everyone can be sure will cover all necessary aspects and issues, so we use the ASC version (which is what it is for).
4. We have also adopted a coaching strategy which embraces current understandings of the way skill is acquired, the way bodies become more athletic, and the way children grow. There is a great deal of emphasis on ensuring that coaches are equipped with a broad range of productive activities which can be adapted to suit various age groups.
There is also a great emphasis on thorough and objective assessment. Everyone acknowledges that assumption is a dangerous practice, so the baseball community would be naive to assume that an individual will have certain competencies simply because he or she has been involved at a certain level or for a certain number of years. Regardless of their background, coaches will have to pass specific assessment procedures before they can be accredited. Only in this way can baseball throughout
5. The demands on volunteers are very substantial; they repeatedly demonstrate amazing generosity and are irreplaceable in the continued health of our game. It would be very poor reward indeed to fail them by implementing a substandard scheme which either failed to protect them legally or did not help them stay in touch with developments in coaching and in baseball. I am, along with many of you and many of your charges, eternally grateful to the big-hearted individuals who gave up their Saturdays and weekday evenings to provide the chance for youngsters to develop in the game. A few of them would probably have chosen to give it up had they been required to get a piece of paper first, no matter how meaningful. But many of them would have recognised the importance of doing just that, and would have made even more sacrifice to be part of a program which has the potential to give baseball the best coaching network in
We all experienced a less restricted sporting environment in our youth than that which exists today. Life generally was less restricted: you could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, as well as a bicycle; you could play in the school playground without supervision and without the need for a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses (as is required in many
6. Personally, I hope that the majority will bite the bullet for long enough, and retain sufficient desire to continue learning, that they will embrace the new scheme and continue to coach baseball. But I do recognise that many may not. To those people I can only say thank you for your contribution to the sport.
8. I grew up in and learned the most important aspects of my baseball in a country town, and country baseball is very dear to my heart. I took a great deal of pleasure from the times our small association’s “rep” teams defeated city teams in various tournaments, and I firmly believe that one of the most critical needs for our sport is to reinvigorate these centres so that they can once again produce in numbers the calibre of players they once did. But that is not to be done by taking shortcuts or ignoring various requirements. It seems to me that the reason that particular country town did well was because they had a genuine sense of community and a determination to not only do things right, but to do it better than anyone else. It also had a whole bunch of people with common sense who could take on a challenge and turn it into an opportunity.
As the person responsible for assembling the new scheme, I am fully aware that it will not be easy for everyone to embrace. But you can rest assured it has been put together with the very best of intentions and with the long term interests of Australian baseball at heart.
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