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Adler
-24th February 2005, 19:49
I have a gap year coming up next year and as a result i'm planning on becoming a full time professional coach in either the Bedfordshire area or in and around Coventry. So does anyone have any advice/warnings/plea's for a coach about to take the plunge?

D'Artignan
-24th February 2005, 20:20
Advice - dont!
It'll take that long just to get established, then there's the extra kit you'll have to invest in (not for you, but your pupils), then theres the tax stuff you'll have to get to grips with, as presumably you'd be self-employed.
Others will be more positive, I'm sure. WFFC Coach for example seems to be doing OK, but I would say, get a normal, boring job and get into coaching at the club, gain some experience at Uni, then maybe if you're still interested, give it a go then.
I thought about the same thing when I was on the dole, but couldnt afford to do all the courses that SF seemed to be demanding to coach, (and rightly too IMHO), never mind the tons of beginners kit I would have to buy. Needless to say, I never went through with it.

WFFC Coach
-24th February 2005, 20:33
D'Artignan is nearly right.

Don't do it..................................unless you are prepared to make a really serious committment both financially and in terms of time and energy.

The rewards, in my case anyway, are not financial. I still get a huge kick out of getting the less talented ones to do a disengage. If you think you would feel the same way go for it. If not think long and hard.

Nick Soper
-24th February 2005, 23:05
As with any self employed venture, you need to have a business plan. But here's a few pointers.

What are your financial needs? (what income do you need to live on. Don't forget you have to pay tax and NI)

Whats your market? Who will buy your product? Is there enough to make what you need? How much advertising do you need to do and what are the costs? How do you get them to buy your product rather then someone elses?

What equipment do you need to purchase up front? You'll need to do this regardless of the amount of work. Think of this as fixed costs.

What are the variable costs and how do you cover them? Things like mileage, other car expenses, etc

Do you need to take any training or have any qualifications to do the job?

These are just general considerations before going self employed. As the others have said, it can take you a while to develop a circuit to the point where you have enough to live on. Not to mention the initial outlay on equipment which you'll need if you have 1 or 20 schools.

I hope this helps


Nick

Baldric
-24th February 2005, 23:27
Originally posted by Nick Soper
As with any self employed venture, you need to have a business plan. But here's a few pointers.

What are your financial needs? (what income do you need to live on. Don't forget you have to pay tax and NI)

Whats your market? Who will buy your product? Is there enough to make what you need? How much advertising do you need to do and what are the costs? How do you get them to buy your product rather then someone elses?

What equipment do you need to purchase up front? You'll need to do this regardless of the amount of work. Think of this as fixed costs.

What are the variable costs and how do you cover them? Things like mileage, other car expenses, etc

Do you need to take any training or have any qualifications to do the job?

These are just general considerations before going self employed. As the others have said, it can take you a while to develop a circuit to the point where you have enough to live on. Not to mention the initial outlay on equipment which you'll need if you have 1 or 20 schools.

I hope this helps


Nick

Excellent advice - Nick, you may qualify for the most intelligent post this year!

Just as a suggestion, and I don't know how experienced a coach you are already, and how many contacts you have, but have you thought about asking an established coach to take you on as an assistant?

Best of luck

Baldric

fencingmaster
-25th February 2005, 07:57
"I have a gap year coming up "

So what happens to the fencers and schools at the end of your gap year?

randomsabreur
-25th February 2005, 08:23
The best way to start out would be coaching alongside established coaches in a club, that way you can learn a lot more, and the fact that you are only around for a year will not cause any problems.

That said, if you do basic classes in a school for a year, and feed into an established club in the area, you don't drop anyone in it either. The worst thing for a coach would be to get a reputation for unreliability in turning up, or just being around for a year.

Coaching in schools does not fit well with other jobs - unless other job is also self employment, because you tend to need to be available and ready to go by 4 at the latest, earlier if you are going to do games sessions.

You cannot really make good money as a coach until you have a good reputation, but being a top fencer will also help to a degree. Even then, basically you need a school to give you a lot of hours.

Best use of a gap year is to earn money, possibly picking a job that gives you evenings free, and contact local clubs/coaches to see if they will let you/ agree to pay you to help out. That way you can build a reputation.

randomsabreur
-25th February 2005, 08:25
Oh, and I forgot to say

Dont set up a new club in competition with an established club - i.e. on the same night, will lead to bad feeling in the area, and will limit the numbers in that you won't get people from the original club who fancy a second night's training

Winwaloe
-25th February 2005, 13:31
Don't know about beds but my contacts tell me that there are a few schools etc in North London and allied Home Counties that need a coach. Might be worth checking on the BFA website club list and then making a feew telephone calls.

Adler
-25th February 2005, 15:47
Originally posted by Nick Soper


I hope this helps


Nick

It certainly does thanks.


So what happens to the fencers and schools at the end of your gap year?

At the moment it's only a gap year but with a strong possibility of it becoming a term move. Initially i as has already been suggested i was thinking of finding an established club that needs a coach and setting up there whilst doing shorter introductory course in schools, camps etc that would feed into the larger club.


I don't know how experienced a coach you are already, and how many contacts you have, but have you thought about asking an established coach to take you on as an assistant?

In terms of experience Iíve been coaching for a few years everyone from beginners to international standard.
I regularly coach a sabre course on personal performance days and Iím an assistant coach for Coventry uni fencing club so Iím looking into the possibility of making these more permanent.


I still get a huge kick out of getting the less talented ones to do a disengage. If you think you would feel the same way go for it.

The main reason i want to coach professionally is the sheer satisfaction it gives me in passing on my knowledge and enthusiasm for fencing.

Adler
-25th February 2005, 15:50
Originally posted by randomsabreur
Oh, and I forgot to say

Dont set up a new club in competition with an established club - i.e. on the same night, will lead to bad feeling in the area, and will limit the numbers in that you won't get people from the original club who fancy a second night's training

Don't worry tuesday nights in bedford are safe:grin: .

Aoife
-26th February 2005, 00:55
I guess I'm quite lucky. I'm doing the same thing, but I've already got the kit and my own club :)

The other 'coach' (unqualified fencing coach, qualified maths teacher) is leaving at the end of the school year, so in my gap year I'm going to be fully running the club. I already coach my own classes at the school, do all the paperwork, sorting out insurance and stuff, keep registers, do entrances for comps, lesson plans, fundraising, I buy all the club kit and do all the ordering for the pupils' kit as they're parents don't feel confident doing it; but the school doesn't know I do this, they think I 'help out'.

However, next year they're willing to pay me quite a bit (I'm already self-employed from doing other bits of coaching around the area), the PE department want me to do some lessons for them, and are looking into the possibility of me taking a year 10 sports science GCSE module in fencing, we're looking into Duke of Edinburgh, and all the while I'm working on (starting this monday!) my County Coach level (yay!).

Also, after my A-Levels I'm going to start handing round some Mini-fence leaflets to the local primaries... I can teach it, or they can have their own PE staff do it, I don't mind, as long as there's fencing grass roots emerging.

I'm really looking forward to it. I think coaching is the best option for me in fencing, because I enjoy imparting knowledge, and seeing others enjoy what I love (I also want to be a teacher, I know I'm a masochist at times). Those here who have been unlucky enough to have seen me fence are probably dispairing at the thought of me showing anybody how to fence; but hey, I'm the only qualified coach in the council district... if I get enough interest in the area, I might attract down some of the top quality coaches from Canterbury (we're only a 30 minute drive!!!). Once the school have been paying me for a while, they won't mind paying a different coach to take over when I'm gone. Some naysayers may say I should work on my own fencing (it being appalling) but I've decided that whilst I enjoy comps, I started fencing to late, and in the wrong circumstances to ever get anywhere in competitive fencing. Hopefully, if I do get the good coaches to set up a club in Thanet, then the kids here will actually have a chance on the circuit, if that's what they want to do; which is the chance I didn't have.





Finally, I'd say don't be too put off by the whole self-employment stuff.... I hate forms, but the Inland Revenue are such great people, and always a phonecall away when you need somebody to talk you through something.

And Nick..... be quite, so sound like the buisness adviser at my bank, asking what my product was... "uuuuh, me". (Yeah, I really don't like forms... I never touched my 'business planner')

Rdb811
-26th February 2005, 14:16
You haven't yet been to university and fenced there or to a largish club - I know fenecrs who started later than you and went on to big things, so look on the bright side.

Shaolin Monkey
-1st March 2005, 09:51
I've recently taken to teaching sabre to the novices at the university club. I enjoy it greatly, even if it means I have to do everything right handed, am just geting the hang of it now.

Winwaloe
-1st March 2005, 15:55
I keep a foil with an old sabre handle on it for teaching left-handed. Rather think I may have got the idea from fencingmaster!

Shaolin Monkey
-2nd March 2005, 08:52
I just use my pozdyakov blade, it was too stiff to take a set when I got it so i can use it with either hand.