250,000 coaches and volunteers selected for Wales

Sport Wales aims to galvanise 10% of Welsh adults to get involved in sport coaching and volunteering by 2016 - doubling the current number of coaches and volunteers to an all time high of nearly 250,000.

That pledge should enable every person who participates in sport in Wales to have access to an appropriately skilled coach, according to ambitious plans set out by Sport Wales, as part of ongoing efforts to get every child hooked on sport for life and create a nation of champions.

These are just some of the aspirations outlined in a six year Coaching Strategy that was launched by the Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones AM at Plas Menai National Watersports Centre in Caernarfon today.

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) endorsed strategy is the focal point of an additional £1 million worth of WAG funding pledged towards coaching, the Heritage Minister announced. That takes Sport Wales' annual coaching investment over the £5 million mark.

The key ambitions of the Sport Wales Coaching Strategy are:

  • 10% of the Welsh adult population will be involved in coaching and volunteering
  • Every coach will be appropriately qualified
  • 100% of coaches trained become active[1]
  • All coaches in Wales to be valued, with opportunities to develop in whatever way desired.

Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister said:

"We believe this strategy will lead to having an appropriately skilled coach for every participant in sport that wants coaching.

"Sport Wales' vision is to unite a proud sporting nation, our purpose is to increase physical activity and improve standards of performance and we aspire to see every child hooked on sport for life and for Wales to be a nation of champions.

"Coaching has a crucial role in achieving this, from supporting elite athletes to excel on the world stage to encouraging local communities to get fitter and enjoy sport; coaches provide the inspiration and practical support to get Wales moving."

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said, "Coaches and volunteers are vital across all sports. They really make a difference and there's no doubt we need more in Wales. We need to increase numbers and to support them properly if we are to become a healthier and more successful sporting nation.

"We must ensure that our coaches are properly qualified and that they can work with children as well as elite athletes; through both our national languages and in all of our communities across Wales.

"I welcome and endorse the ambition and aspirations of Sport Wales for coaching in Wales. This strategy provides a clear direction and focus for all our efforts to achieve a successful and effective coaching system."

Five percent (113,000) of adults in Wales currently give up their time to coach or volunteer in sport. Sport Wales has set its sights on doubling that figure to nearly 250,000, which would equate to 10% of the current Welsh adult population lending a hand on touchlines and pool sides across the country.

McAllister explains: "We need more coaches and volunteers. Five percent is good but if we want every child hooked on sport then this is not good enough. We need to be great.

"It's not just a quantity issue either. We have to ensure that coaches are being deployed in the right areas and that we are retaining them in the system. Crucially we need to support their ongoing development and foster a culture that recognises and values the great work of coaches and volunteers in sport."

The Coaching Strategy supports Sport Wales' Elite Sports Strategy, launched in June, which set ambitious medal targets for the next six years. It also complements WAG's Creating an Active Wales and the UK Coaching Framework, which both support the push for more and better coaches.

Sport Wales expects high levels of interest in sport following the London 2012 Olympics and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and is taking steps now to ensure that there are enough appropriately qualified coaches available to meet the demand for participation in Wales.

Coaches and volunteers have been the focal point of Sport Wales' Behind Every Star campaign, which celebrates the hard work and dedication put into sport in Wales by coaches and volunteers all across the country.

In a bid to inspire the people of Wales to play their part, esteemed photographer Terry Morris turned his attention to the world of sport capturing eleven of Wales' sporting heroes of the moment with one of their most influential coaches to date.

The second half of the campaign will focus on active recruitment of volunteers and coaches, encouraging and inspiring adults across Wales to get involved in their local sports teams. Sport Wales is encouraging people to sign up to volunteer at www.behindeverystar.org.uk.

The travelling photographic exhibition will be displayed at Plas Menai until 14 September before moving on to Wrexham's Eagles Meadow Shopping Complex from 24-25 September before finishing at Festival Park Shopping Centre, Blaenau Gwent from 29-30 October.

1 Active coaches describes coaches that are delivering coaching to participants