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18 May 2020
Sports coaches offered free mental health training to help deal with lockdown
By Tom Walker
Sports coaches offered free mental health training to help deal with lockdown
UK Coaching has teamed up with mental health charity Mind and Sport England to make the training free online
Photo: Shutterstock/Drazen Zigic
UK Coaching is offering free mental health training to sports coaches, to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 18 to 24 May.

UK Coaching has teamed up with mental health charity Mind and Sport England to make its Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity free online.

The course will be accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform,
ukcoaching.org, and will remain free of charge until 31 August 2020.

The training, accredited by UK Coaching's awarding organisation 1st4sport, will offer learning opportunities across a number of key areas, including:

• How to welcome and support people, living with mental health problems, in sport and physical activity sessions
• Increase coaching staff's knowledge of mental health problems
• Apply the learnings in everyday coaching practice
• Make clubs and organisations more inclusive

Releasing the training for free is part of UK Coaching's efforts to assist the sports industry deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Maintaining good mental health and well-being during the coronavirus lockdown was always going to be one of the key challenges facing us," said Emma Atkins, UK Coaching’s director of coaching.

“This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, and we wanted to honour that by coming together with our partners Mind and Sport England to take the financial burden of an essential piece of coach learning and development away from coaches.

“During this time, we are seeing more coaches using online learning, and this course is one that we know coaches enjoy and benefit from putting what they have learnt into practice. This is vital as we return to play over the coming months.

“There will be many of us who will have found this extended period of isolation difficult, and many of us who will find the ‘new normal’ that awaits us after lockdown equally challenging. Coaches are key conduits in helping communities to thrive and prosper.

"We will need them now more than ever before to help us get back running, mentally, as well as physically.”

Sport England’s Coaching Development Manager Sion Kitson, added: “Considering the challenges we are all facing, it was right for us to come together to support coaches by removing the financial obstacle of accessing this essential course.

“People enjoying high-quality physical activity is central to the mental and physical wellbeing of the nation. Despite the lockdown, coaches have worked doubly hard to find amazing ways to keep people active. Hopefully, this small gesture will go a long way towards continuing their professional development.”

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