What is Canada's National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)?
The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) is a collaborative program of the government of Canada, the provincial/territorial governments, national and provincial sport federations and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). This partnership, in place since 1974, is largely responsible for building an internationally recognized coach education program for coaching development in over 65 different sports in French and English.
The NCCP is designed to meet the needs of all types of coaches, from the first-time coach to the head coach of a national team. The NCCP is the recognized national standard for coach training and certification in Canada. As part of the program, all coaches are trained in ethical decision-making and sport safety.
Since 1997, the emphasis of the NCCP has been on developing competent coaches – an exciting step towards helping them to become more effective and have a more meaningful impact on an athlete’s experience. This most recent NCCP model is made up of three streams and a total of eight contexts, each with its own coaching requirements. Each sport is responsible for identifying how many of the eight contexts are relevant to their sport.
Volleyball and the NCCP
The new NCCP model defines a coach as:
- In training when some required training has been completed
- Trained when all required training is complete.
- Certified when all training and evaluation requirements have been met.
The new NCCP model distinguishes between training and certification. Coaches can participate in training opportunities to acquire or refine the skills and knowledge required for a particular coaching context as defined by the sport. However, to become certified in a coaching context, coaches must be evaluated on their demonstrated ability to perform within that context in areas such as program design, practice planning, performance analysis, program management, ethical coaching, support to participants during training, and support to participants in competition.
Certified coaches enjoy the credibility of the sporting community and of the athletes they coach because they have been observed and evaluated “doing” what is required of them as a competent coach in their sport. They are recognized as meeting or exceeding the high standards embraced by more than 60 national sport organizations in Canada. Fostering confidence at all levels of sport, certification is a benefit shared by parents, athletes, sport organizations, and our communities.
The NCCP prepares coaches to:
- better meet the needs of all participants in sport
- provide a positive sport experience to participants
- provide opportunities for participants to achieve their full potential in and around sport
For novice coaches (both indoor and beach volleyball) who need to be able to teach basic skills and tactics, and prepare athletes for low-level competitions. Athletes are generally trained on a seasonal basis. Fun is an important part of the athletes’ sport experience. Specialization is not a priority at this stage, and sport experiences generally provide an opportunities to teach values and develop social skills. Coaches will be expected to participate in a series of learning experiences designed to assist them in improving their volleyball coaching abilities and to have those coaching abilities assessed throughout the course. These activities represent the minimum standard for the training and certification of Level 1 volleyball coaches within the new NCCP.
Upon completion of Level 1, the the coach will have the choice of two different coaching certification routes based upon whether they coach beach volleyball or indoor volleyball. For both disciplines, the Level 2 program builds upon the concepts presented in the Level 1 Volleyball Certiﬁcation Program. Level 2 coaches help athletes refine basic skills and tactics, teach more advanced skills and tactics, and prepare them for provincial or national level competitions. Athletes are usually training several times a week on a seasonal or annual basis to improve performance. Although having a good time remains an important part of the athletes’ sport experience, the outcome of competitions is of greater importance, as athletes may have to meet pre-determined performance standards. Major concepts dealt with are skill variation, advanced team systems, position specialization, running cohesive practices, and seasonal planning and periodization concepts are introduced.
The Level 3 volleyball program again builds upon the concepts presented in the Level 1 & 2 volleyball coaching programs with separate education, training, and certification pathways for indoor and beach volleyball coaches. These are advanced volleyball coaching programs and they are intended for coaches who aspire to develop athletes and teams which will be competitive at national level competitions (i.e. national championships) and who desire to pursue coaching as a profession. As a general rule, these coaches work with advanced athletes between the ages of 17 – 24. They help athletes refine advanced sport skills and tactics, and prepare them for national and in a few instances international competitions. Athletes perform a high volume of specialized training on an annual basis in order to improve or maintain performance. Although having a good time remains an important part of the athletes’ sport experience, the outcome of competitions becomes very important. The athletes endeavour to reach their full potential and to attain optimum performance levels. Advanced skill development concepts, volleyball program management, detailed seasonal planning, and the effective sequencing of training sessions are major components of the program.
Levels 4 and 5 of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) represent the highest components of coach education available in Canada. The goal of the NCCP at these levels is to provide coaches with advanced applied training opportunities that meet the highest education and evaluation standards.
As a result of their certification at Levels 4 and 5, coaches will demonstrate a thorough understanding of their sport and its demands, from developmental up to the elite or international level. They will also be able to plan, implement, and evaluate a variety of programs and activities aimed at providing an environment which is optimal for the overall development of the athlete, including those who aspire to and have the potential for international levels of performance.
The Level 4/5 program will enhance the quality of the coach's interventions in the areas of technical, tactical, physiological, and psychological athlete preparation, as well as his or her managerial competence. The coach's pedagogical, analytical, critical, and conceptual skills will also be refined, and he or she will provide leadership at all levels of the sport system. This, in turn, will translate into a better sport experience for athletes, including more consistent and superior performances.
Level 4/5 certified coaches will also understand and promote the concept that every athlete is entitled to a fair opportunity to develop his or her potential to its fullest through a balanced practice of sport.
Finally, certification at either Level 4 or Level 5 of the NCCP represents a key component of the professionalization of coaching. As such, it serves to establish the theoretical, technical, practical, and ethical standards upon which the competency of professional coaches can be judged.