South African Sailing (SAS) has become the third International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Member National Authority to receive ISAF Recognized Training status for their National Training Programme (NTP).
ISAF Inspector Richard Percy (left) with Rob Holden, SAS National Training Manager
ISAF Training and Development Manager Dan Jaspers and ISAF Inspector Richard Percy visited four selected national training programme centres in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Mossel Bay during their six day inspection, as well as a number of other centres along the route of their 4,000 km road trip.
ISAF Inspector Richard Percy said of the Inspection and visit to South Africa, 'The South African Sailing National Training Programme has proved itself to be robust and worthy of ISAF Recognized Training status.
'It is clear that the legacy of the SAS Programme will enable greater numbers of children and adults to participate in the sport of sailing.
'SAS and the South African Olympic Committee (SASCOC) made a long term commitment to the development of sail training and over the last two years have set an example to many other sailing federations worldwide by their hard work and dedication to this process.'
Rob Holden, ISAF Training Scholarship graduate and National Training Manager for South African Sailing explained what the Accreditation means and how it came to be, 'After eight months of aligning all sail training in South Africa to the National Training Programme, we came to the Inspection date with apprehension towards the process.
'After six days of inspecting the four selected training centres as well as a variety of others along the way, it has become clear that the process of gaining recognition by ISAF is only the beginning of a long process of maintaining and improving our National Learn to Sail Training Programme.
'I was impressed by the attention to detail and thoroughness of the inspection process, which showed us areas where we can improve. The actual inspection was not as daunting a task as it was initially perceived to be when we first set out on this journey.'
During a visit to the Headquarters of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee it became clear that the support of the SAS Programme linked very well with the work of the International Council for Coach Education (ICCE) and their drive to have a International Qualifications Framework for all sports coaches.
South Africa has identified 14 International Sports Federations to trial their Long Term Tutor Development Programme alongside their existing Athlete and Participant Development Programmes and Sailing is one of them. This identification of the requirement for long term mentoring across Tutors, Coaches, Athletes and Participants ties in with the Development of a National Sports Structure document that ISAF is working on and the recent inclusion of ISAF in the ICCE working party on the mapping of national qualifications frameworks to the International guidelines.
Of the coaches he had seen in South Africa, Richard Percy said, 'I have been very impressed with the standard of coaching that I have seen here. The structure in which these coaches are now trained will help SAS to link an increase in participation to those who's talent is identified at an early age and then guided by professional coaches to a world class performance pathway.
'Once the sailors have been retained and have decided that competition is the direction in which they wish to go, trained coaches will help make this transition a more signposted process. We look forward to seeing the results over the coming years.'
Rob Holden finished off by outlining his thoughts on the transferability of international coaching qualifications, 'Now that SAS has ISAF Recognized Training status we welcome coaches from any other 'Recognized' ISAF MNA to come and work in SA. If a country has undergone the inspection and the coaches are from the national training programme then we are happy to recognize their competencies and qualifications.'