Monday, March 30, 2020

Online-virtual training guidance

Information supplied by Howdens on 26 March 2020

Given the unprecedented situation we are in at the moment we wanted to provide you with an update on insurance in relation to training. For insurance to be applicable, participants and coaches must be members of Scottish Swimming through membership of their club.

Most insurers are accepting training via online coaching sessions, however, in all cases a risk assessment continues to be key and the coach must be appropriately qualified to deliver the activity planned.  Attached to this information you will find a list of activities that are not insured. 

It is also advised that the diving community should not be training on trampolines in gardens and divers should be concentrating on body conditioning and health and wellbeing. The number of injuries that can be caused from trampolines in gardens could put a huge amount of pressure on the NHS.  This activity will not be insured by Scottish Swimming’s policy.

General fitness by the member outside of formal coaching sessions is not usually recognised and therefore is not insured.

Please find detailed below the criteria for land work at home during the Coronavirus outbreak

The current situation challenges us to find ways to keep our members active and training whilst respecting government guidance around social distancing etc.  One clear opportunity is to undertake online delivery of activity from the coach to the athlete(s) either via live connection, recorded content or social media interaction.

The following guidance sets out how a coach delivering on behalf of a club can deliver online/virtual training and ensure that they are operating within Scottish Swimming’s parameters and the club is covered by their Scottish Swimming insurance policy for this activity. 

1. Level of Coach

Coaches should only deliver activity for which they are trained.  In all of the instances below, coaches should apply good coaching practice.  They should risk assess the activity, ensuring that it is appropriate for the developmental stage of participants and also take into account the fact that they will not be in close proximity to the athletes or directly supervising them in the same way as a face-to-face environment. Adjustments should be made accordingly. 

a. Coaches with a recognised land training or strength and conditioning qualification

These coaches can deliver land training activity online as long as they risk assess the activity appropriately, ensure as far as possible safe practice on behalf of the participant and work within the level for which they are trained.  Extra care should be taken to ensure the activity is safe for the athlete.

b. Coaches with a recognised aquatic qualification (but not a land-training qualification)

It is clear that non-pool activity is going to be the main form of training for participants at this time.  If the coach has been educated to deliver pre and post pool dryland activity then they can use this in their online training, ensuring that they deliver appropriate technique and ensuring that the volume and intensity is within healthy limits for the participant. 

c. Coaches with no recognised qualification

These individuals should not be delivering online / virtual content.

d. Activity outside of the scope of the qualification

If the coach wants to utilise techniques that are out of the scope of their qualification then ideally they would use a person with a relevant qualification to deliver this as per (a).  If this is not possible, then they could refer the participant (or their parent if Under-18) to relevant and reputable content available elsewhere. There will be content available on the relevant groups on Scottish Swimming’s HIVE Learning platform with links to reputable sources of further content.  It should be made clear to the participant / parent that the club, coach and Scottish Swimming accept no liability for any injury or issue arising from following such content.  

2. Safety

Safety of the participant must be paramount.  Delivering online / virtually can bring extra challenges that should be addressed.  The following guidelines should be followed:

Before commencing any session:

  • The coach should consider all of the usual safety considerations for the training they intend to deliver.
  • The coach should put together a pre-training introduction – either using a slide or a verbal safety introduction. A template is attached. This should include
    • A notice that anyone doing the exercise should be aware of their own capabilities and only do what they are comfortable to do or seek medical advice if in any doubt.
    • A statement stressing that by continuing with the session that they are agreeing to follow instructions and safety guidance from the coach.
    • A request for members under 18 to gain permission from their parent/guardian before proceeding; in addition confirming that the athlete is fit and healthy for the intended training, or recommending they seek medical advice if in any doubt; and that the parent/guardian has checked that the environment is suitable for the training they are about to undertake.
    • The pre-training message should conclude with a statement that by continuing with the session athletes agree/comply with all the above points.

Examples of what should be considered and included in the pre-training advice where applicable:

  • What is the floor like? Is it safe and will it stay so when/if wet (if applicable)?
  • Is the area well ventilated?
  • Do athletes have a mat?
  • Can athletes exercise outside?
  • Is there furniture athletes may bump into—can it be moved?
  • Have athletes got enough space to exercise safely?
  • Are there any trip hazards?
  • Ensure that the coach and the athletes wear appropriate clothing at all times.
  • Any equipment used should be wiped clean before and after use.
  • A responsible adult should be in proximity of the athlete at all times to deal with any issues that arise and to stop the athlete training if there are any health / safety concerns
  • Appropriate clothing should be worn including suitable footwear, no jewellery etc.
  • There is a mechanism for the athlete to feedback to the coach any problems or issues with the session and have a session debrief if possible
  • The coach and athlete should stay hydrated
  • Ensure the athlete keeps pets and any other distractions away during exercise.
  • General note - the coach/instructor should be mindful with regard to the use of copyrighted music/material 

3. Safeguarding

As with any other form of coaching, implementing good safeguarding practice is extremely important to protect the coach and the participant.  All usual safeguarding considerations should be taken into account.  In addition, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Remember to include the pre-training statement at the beginning of the training session detailed above. This includes a statement about seeking consent from a parent/guardian and explain what the purpose of the training is, when it will be done, on what platform etc.
  • As per the safety guidance above, ensure that a responsible adult is in proximity to the athlete (if under 18).
  • Use an online-share platform – that way the coach will not necessarily need access to the children’s contact details and only use it for the purpose of the training.
  • Ensure appropriate privacy settings and that images of the athlete are not shared online.
  • Do not make contact with athletes outside of the training unless with parental consent.

Please also refer to the list of activities athat are not recognised by Scottish Swimming for insurance purposes and and the online safety notice, the latter of which should be shown / shared at the start of each virtual session. Both these documents can be found below.