GB Futures 2021 - planning for the impact of Covid

In the last few weeks WFDF and EUF have made a number of announcements about plans for international events in 2021:

We welcome announcements about potential international ultimate in 2021, but the view of the UK Ultimate board is that we should prioritise planning for the significant possibility that at least some of those events may not go ahead.  

 

This announcement outlines our plans for U24, U20 and U17 squads: building a regional talent pathway structure for competitive ultimate training for these age-groups on the assumption that their events are quite likely to be cancelled, whilst leaving us in the best position to compete if they go ahead.   

 

Whilst we understand that WFDF and EUF are just announcing plans to go ahead with the events if possible, we have seen that many players tend to interpret such announcements as meaning that the events will definitely go ahead.  One reason for making this announcement now is to try to set realistic expectations about what might be possible in 2021.

 

GB Futures 2021

Our goal is to build a meaningful and enjoyable training pathway based on regional training hubs around the UK that can all operate somewhat independently of each other. The regional training hubs will combine age-groups to help achieve viable numbers in all areas of the UK. The benefits of this approach are that it should:

  • Reduce travel and movement
  • Keep costs lower
  • Enable us to use the situation to build a framework that we have wanted to put in place for some time but which tends to take second place to the effort of trials, training the selected squads, getting to the event, etc.
  • Place us in a position where if a vaccine or other solution makes the events more likely we have players and coaches working together around the UK and could do an acceptable - if not ideal - selection process for the various teams.

One element we want to highlight is that for the sake of simplicity there will be no overnight stays - i.e. training sessions will be 1-day only.

 

Building this programme will make a lasting difference to our ability to support young, ambitious and talented Ultimate players to become the best players they can be, and to be part of successful national and club teams.

 

If the international competitions all go ahead, then we will have:

  • A fantastic and well-connected group of volunteers who are well-placed to jump on all the problems, select a team, and organise the trips.  
  • A large group of players who have done some good preparation, had a relatively fair shot at selection (given the limitations in the UK right now) and are also well-informed about the prospects of the tournaments happening so that they can make appropriate plans.

If one or more of the international competitions don’t happen, we *may* find that by mid summer it is possible to bring several (maybe all) of the hubs together for a bit of internal competition between hubs - or just a larger training camp - because this can be done without anyone travelling outside the UK.  We’ll see what we can do.

 

Players

We are interested in hearing from players across the age-range (Year 8 to U24 in 2021*) who would like to try out for Great Britain squads.  We’ll be aiming to have training hubs with equal numbers of male and female players, with approx 60 players in each location.

  • You do NOT have to be committed to playing in 2021 if the events go ahead.
  • The programme is aimed for players who would have considered going to trials for one of these teams in the past.
  • Appropriate levels of skills and experience will vary depending on age.  
  • Different hubs may operate differently depending on their age spread of players, and we may create some hubs that are more focussed on the upper or lower end of the age range if there are enough players in the region.

Players are asked to register their interest using this form before the end of November.  Further information will be sent to directly the players that apply.  We aim to make this programme available to a large number of players, but we still expect that places will be somewhat limited. 

 

Coordination and Coaching

This will be quite a substantial undertaking - but would be a great step in a major improvement of our pathway for ambitious and talented players.  

 

We will need coordinators and coaches in 6-10 locations who can help manage venue bookings, take on covid-officer responsibilities, and all the usual admin (payments, etc) as well as actually delivering on coaching.  Each regional training hub will need a lead “hub coordinator” and that person’s key attributes will be organisational skills, good communication, energy and enthusiasm. 

 

We will also need a commitment from all involved to work across training hubs and with national lead coaches (once appointed) to make sure we have at least a reasonably common approach to sessions, etc.  Information about applying for national team coaching roles will follow soon.  National team coaches will be able to support their local training hubs.  

 

We plan to spread out the locations across the UK and have not made any fixed decisions about where they need to go.  

 

If you are interested in volunteering to support this programme 

  1. Please complete this application form asap, deadline 30th November.  We aim to make as many appointments as possible in the first two weeks of December.  
  2. You are invited to join one of the following online forums where we hope to discuss plans in more detail.  The goal of these sessions is to consult with interested and/or experienced members of the community who want to be involved and to contribute to identifying and solving some of the challenges we will meet in setting up this programme.  

Forums will take place on:

  • Friday 20th November 18:30-19:30  
  • Wednesday 25th November 20:00-21:00

 

Please use the application form to indicate your interest and receive the meeting links.  You do not have to complete the whole application process at this point.

 

Draft Role Descriptions

Each Futures Training Hub will be overseen by a Futures Hub Coordinator and a Futures Hub Lead Coach. These roles could be performed by the same person or could be split to be done by two people. We are open to flexibility on how this split might be achieved for each region. We anticipate that these voluntary roles will be for a fixed term of three seasons, although the roles may be held by the same person consecutively if they are reappointed. 

 

We wish to encourage coaches with a passion and preference for developing players rather than those interested in selecting and preparing players for a specific  tournament. We also recognise the large time requirements for the latter and hope that these Futures Hub Lead Coaches might appreciate the different demands on their time that the role requires.

 

We are also recruiting for “casual” pool coaches who can support on-the-day delivery as planned by the Lead Coach.  Please use the application form to apply to indicate interest.

 

A non-exhaustive list of duties for the Futures Hub Lead Coach:

  • Lead coaching at training sessions
  • Recruit assistant coaches/admin support
  • Work with additional coaches to create and deliver specific plan for each session
  • Recruit and select players into the programme for their region, in accordance with the GB Selection Policy
  • Encourage players to attend GB trials (senior, U24 and U20 as appropriate)
  • Provide players with written feedback that can be used in their applications to GB squads
  • Plan inter hub scrimmages
  • Work with the Futures Programme Lead to ensure that the Training Hub runs effectively and in accordance with the aims of the GB Futures Programme
  • Work with the Futures Programme Lead and Futures Hub Coordinator to tailor the delivery of the Training Hub to regional needs
  • Liaise closely with the Futures Programme Lead and the GB Performance Director with regard to the “curriculum” at sessions
  • Engage with the UKU Coaching Pathway, and can expect coaching support in return

 

 

A non-exhaustive list of duties for the Futures Hub Coordinator:

  • Communication and coordination with local clubs and players
  • Coordinate logistics with Futures Programme Lead, Futures Hub Lead Coach and “local” assistant coaches
  • Assume Covid-Officer responsibilities for the group (or help recruit an additional volunteer to take this specific role)
  • Book venues
  • Organising the session
  • Performing risk assessments and ensuring good health and safety for their hub
  • Checking player payments - using UKU website
  • Communicate with players
  • Work with the Futures Programme Lead and Futures Hub Lead Coach to ensure that the Training Hub runs effectively and in accordance with the aims of the GB Futures Programme
  • Work with the Futures Hub Lead Coach to tailor the delivery of the Training Hub to regional needs