By Ross Patterson
This has been a challenging year for everyone, but especially so for coach development. Coaching martial arts requires close physical contact, so COVID has made this impossible at times. However, several new policies have been implemented by the Coaching and Youth Development Commissions in spite of these challenges.
- A new system of online grading was approved by the Coaching Commission. Using two phone cameras, a coach can now assess athletes remotely via a live feed or through recorded video. The protocol and grading criteria were also transmitted through an app, meaning coaches have access instantly, worldwide.
- A minimum rest of 15 minutes between fights at youth events was implemented by the Board. Athletes under the age of 18 must now take 15 minutes to rest and recover, better-improving safety and ensuring athletes will showcase the best of their skills.
- A coach migration scheme has been introduced which will allow certifications to follow coaches and experts across borders. Instead of having to retake a course when moving to a new country, qualifications will follow coaches internationally.
- A minimum technical standard of yellow grade was implemented for the first time at the Youth World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. This ensures an appropriate skill level, as well as demonstrates the educational values IMMAF is committed to.
The coach education programme continued online, which included courses as well as webinars.
The South African Federation has been the most active in the Coach Education and Certification Scheme, with 58 new coaches working towards Level 1.
The IMMAF App continues to be the principal hub for all grading matters and needs of IMMAF coaches. The number of users has almost doubled since last year, with nearly 10,000 people from 94 countries. Gradings have also increased, from 958 in 2020 to 2500 in 2021. And there are 6,900 white-belts now registered, up from 3,800 last year.
Dr Andrew Moshanov, the IMMAF Director of Development said:
“Thank you to all the coaches and sports enthusiasts for your dedication and passion, without which it would not be possible to elevate the sport of mixed martial arts to where it stands now. Looking forward to working with everyone next year to develop the sport further.”